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Inside Safaricom CEO Peter Ndegwa’s Extended Multi-Million Properties

by Paul Nyongesa
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In the dynamic landscape of Kenya’s corporate world, the Philip Ndegwa family has emerged as a prominent force, strategically maneuvering through various sectors and orchestrating a series of significant deals.

The latest developments involving NCBA Group and ICEA Lion Group signify a new phase of expansion for the family’s multi-billion-shilling business empire, showcasing their astute investment strategies and keen eye for opportunities.

NCBA Group, where the Ndegwas hold a substantial 14.94 percent stake, recently announced plans to acquire an additional 66.67 percent in AIG Kenya Insurance Company Limited, a move set to bolster the family’s influence in the insurance sector.

Simultaneously, ICEA Lion Asset Management Limited, predominantly owned by the family, is in the process of acquiring retail investors’ stakes in property fund ILAM Fahari I-Reit, a deal valued at a substantial Sh402.4 million.

These acquisitions are part of the Ndegwa family’s overarching strategy, characterized by a willingness to sell struggling assets and pursue mergers and acquisitions in sectors displaying high-growth potential. This approach has not only solidified their position in various industries but also garnered substantial financial gains.

The AIG Kenya deal, in particular, exemplifies the family’s strategic prowess. By securing an additional 66.67 percent stake in the insurance company, NCBA Group will eventually own 100 percent of the issued shares of the insurer, a move estimated to earn American Insurance Group (AIG) at least Sh2 billion based on recent valuations.

This strategic acquisition underscores the family’s commitment to strengthening their foothold in the insurance sector, leveraging their expertise and financial acumen.

Additionally, the Ndegwas’ involvement in NCBA Group has been instrumental in shaping the bank’s trajectory. Through their investment vehicle, First Chartered Securities, the family increased their stake in the bank to 14.94 percent, surpassing the Jomo Kenyatta family’s share.

Their proactive approach in the financial sector mirrors their overarching philosophy — the pursuit of ventures with high growth potential.

ICEA Lion Insurance Holdings, another cornerstone of the family’s diversified portfolio, has been actively engaged in strategic transactions.

The acquisition of asset manager Stanlib Kenya in 2020 from South Africa-based insurer Liberty Holdings, valued at over Sh1.5 billion, significantly enhanced their asset management arm.

This strategic move allowed ICEA’s asset management division to manage property fund Stanlib Fahari I-Reit, now known as ILAM Fahari I-Reit, further strengthening their position in real estate investments.

The family’s strategic deals began in earnest in 2015, marked by the sale of their agriculture and hospitality equipment company, G-North & Son Limited. Subsequent transactions included the sale of the ICEA Building in Nairobi’s central business district and the divestiture of Ennsvalley Bakery to Unga Group, showcasing their adeptness in recognizing market shifts and capitalizing on profitable opportunities.

Despite occasional challenges, such as the thwarted bid by Delaware-based conglomerate Seaboard Corporation to delist Unga Group from the NSE, the Ndegwa family’s resilience and strategic agility have consistently propelled them forward.

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