18 June 2014

Kenya: Centum Owns Third of Broll East Africa

NSE-listed investment company Centum has disclosed it owns a 30 per cent stake in Broll East Africa, giving it access to the property management business in the region.

Centum said in its full year statements last week that Broll East Africa is a joint venture between it and Broll Property Group, a South African company that established the regional office in Nairobi last August.

The joint venture is pitted against stiff competition in the property management business from big players such as Knight Frank Kenya who have foothold in the region.

Broll holds an affiliation to the global network of property services firm CB Richard Ellis, which necessitated a re-brand of CBRE Kenya to and Axis Real Estate after a 10-year association with it.

"We entered into a joint venture with Broll Property Group, the largest commercial property services group in Africa, in the establishment of Broll East Africa," Centum said in a statement to Nairobi Securities Exchange last week.

"The partnership with Broll gives Centum the opportunity to provide end to end real estate development solutions. Centum has 30 per cent in the joint venture," chief executive James Mworia said.

The firm did not disclose the value of its equity in the joint venture. The SA-based Broll appointed Jonathan Yach as chief executive of the Kenya-based regional office.

Centum said it has increased its exposure to real estate to 34 per cent in 2014 from zero in 2010. In the financial year ended March 31, the firm also established Athena Properties Ltd, a subsidiary, to manage its real estate developments and those of third parties.

Real estate is one of eight key sectors that the investment firm will focus on over the next five years in a strategy christened 'Centum 3.0'. Others are power, financial services, education, ICT, fast moving consumer goods, healthcare and agriculture.

"Our strategy will be funded through internally generated funds," it said, adding that its zero-dividend policy will be extended for another five years. It will retain earnings to finance new investments "which the board believes will yield market beating returns".

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