16 May 2018

Kenya: Kakuzi Rejects Billionaire's Bid for Boardroom Position

Kakuzi chairman Graham Mclean has declared that the board of the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm has no room for additional directors, slamming the door on billionaire investor John Kibunga Kimani who has a 30.3 per cent stake in the company.

The agricultural firm's board at the annual general meeting yesterday faced calls by local shareholders to make Mr Kimani a non-executive director on account of his large stake.

"It is something that is under continuous review by the board to consider directors for the future," said Mr Mclean in response to queries from shareholders on whether the board would bring Mr Kimani on board.

"However we are at our maximum capacity of eight directors and currently do not have a vacancy," he added at the meeting held in Nairobi.

Mr Kimani, while acknowledging the board's proclamation, said he was committed to the firm in the long-term.

"They may think I will be disruptive but I would like to assure them that I am at the heart of Kakuzi," Mr Kimani said at the forum.

The businessman is the second largest shareholder of Kakuzi after UK-based multinational Camellia Plc, which is the controlling shareholder with a 50.7 per cent equity.

Kakuzi's articles of association gives the company's directors power to appoint new board members, with a maximum of eight and a minimum of two at any time.

Kakuzi has eight directors, mostly nominees of UK-based Camellia Plc.

Shareholders had questioned failure by the board to tap into Mr Kimani's potential input.

"Somebody who has invested quite a lot of money in this company, don't you think you can get a lot of value from him? What do you fear that if he comes to the board, he will do?" posed a shareholder.

Mr Kimani has steadily accumulated his Kakuzi shareholding to the current level from lows of two per cent in 2005.

His announcement in early 2015 that he would seek to raise his stake further contributed to a rally in the company's share price.

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