Tanzanian billionaires Aunali and Sajjad Rajabali have bought 30.2 million shares equivalent to a 2.06 per cent stake in KenolKobil, rising to the list of the oil marketer's top shareholders.
The shares have a market value of Ksh378 million ($3.78 million) and have seen the Rajabalis rank ninth in Kenol's list of top 10 investors, according to the company's latest annual report.
The investment in the oil marketer expands the Rajabalis' interest on the Nairobi Securities Exchange where they made their first foray with acquisition of 22.9 million Co-op Bank shares last year.
Their stake in the lender stands at 0.47 per cent, placing them second in the list of top individual investors after the bank's chief executive Gideon Muriuki who retains a 2.05 per cent interest in the company.
The Rajabalis have invested a total of nearly Ksh700 million ($7 million) in Co-op Bank and Kenol.
The duo has moved to expand their regional interests, with the investors ranked as the top individual investors in Tanzania's largest lender CRDB Bank Plc with a 4.1 per cent stake, according to the company's latest disclosures.
Their interest in CRDB is worth Ksh1 billion ($10 million)based on the lender's market value on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange. Rajabalis's aggressive purchase of Co-op Bank and Kenol indicates their confidence about the firms' future prospects.
Kenol recorded a 19.7 per cent net profit growth to Ksh2.4 billion ($24 million) (in the year ended December, helped by higher sales, better margins and lower finance costs.
The firm's sales jumped 19.5 per cent to Ksh103.4 billion ($ 1 billion), coinciding with an improvement in the gross profit margin from 6.7 per cent to seven per cent.
Last year, the oil marketer sold its subsidiaries in Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in line with a change in the company's strategy from aggressive regional and market share expansion to a focus on profitable countries and market segments.
The sale left the firm with a presence in Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi and Mozambique.