Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Geoffrey Odundo and Britam Holdings PLC Group Managing Director Dr Benson Wairegi, recently rang the bell to officially admit AfricInvest, a private equity fund as a shareholder at Britam.The event marked successful completion of the previously publicised acquisition of a 14. 3 per cent stake by the private fund in the diversified financial services company.
Mr Odundo who spoke during the event commended Britam for continuously using Kenya’s capital markets to strengthen its capital base and fund its expansion strategy, explaining that this and a similar earlier deal with the International Finance Corporation had similar effect as an initial public offering (IPO) by injecting Kshs. 9.2 billion into the capital market, pushing NSE’s market capitalization to a historical high of Kshs. 2650 billion from Kshs. 2640.55 billion.
“The investment by AfricInvest was very well received by your shareholders and the investing public. This is a clear pronouncement of the confidence in which the market holds the long term strategy and management of the company,” said Odundo. He added that Britam’s continued growth and expansion supported by the capital markets is a fine example of the abundant opportunities the Kenyan market offers and encouraged other listed companies to look no further than the capital markets as they aim to grow their businesses.
Britam Plc shareholders approved the Kshs. 5.7 billion bid by AfricInvest to buy 360, 888, 281 million new ordinary shares in the firm at a subscription price of Kshs. 15. 85 per share in November 2017. The CMA has now approved the subscription. Speaking during the function, Britam Group Managing Director Dr. Benson Wairegi said the investment by the private equity fund makes AfricInvest a strategic partner in Britam.
Dr Wairegi further added that the funds would go to support strategic projects in the group, including the consolidation of the group’s leadership position across its various businesses in insurance, asset management and property in line with its 2016-2020 strategy.
“We chose to partner with AfricInvest because of their deep financial sector knowledge as well as their extensive experience working with insurance firms across the continent both of which we hope to leverage. We also believe that this partnership will result in unlocking higher shareholder value. The coming on board of AfricInvest into Britam also gives us confidence that the company is on the right track,” Dr Wairegi emphasized.
The decision by AfricInvest to invest in Britam came less than a month after the International Finance Corporation (IFC) released Kshs. 3.6 billion to fund strategic projects in the company. Both the IFC and AfricInvest subscribe to high international standards of corporate governance and sustainability.
“We are investing in the financial services sector to support economic growth. We recognize Britam as a market leader and hope that the investment will help them achieve the objectives laid out in their 2016-2020 strategy,” said AfricInvest East Africa Managing Director, George Odo.
AfricInvest is a Pan African private equity fund, which manages about 1.5 billion dollars in 14 private equity funds. It is a special purpose vehicle (SPV) formed by a consortium of global investors from the Federal Republic of Germany, Netherlands, and France.
Since inception in 1994, AfricInvest has invested in 135 companies across 24 African countries in high growth sectors including financial services, agribusiness, consumer (retail), education and healthcare.