Centum’s focus on projects after H1 results - CNBC Africa

Centum’s focus on projects after H1 results

East Africa

by Elayne Wangalwa 0

Kenya’s investment firm Centum has reported a 24 per cent increase in its pretax for the first half year ending 30th September 2014.

The company's profit before tax climbed to 1.28 billion Kenya shillings from 1.03 billion Kenya shillings in a similar period the previous year. This has been attributed to the firm’s a rise in investment income that rose by 58 per cent to 1.8 billion Kenya shillings.

“We had a good year of results, the important metrics are up. Profit after tax on a consolidated base is up 38 per cent. Another metric that is important to use is total return of shareholder capital to half year, it was 19 per cent which is impressive considering that the NSE [Nairobi Securities Exchange] share index has done 6 per cent that is an important metrics… so we are running a fairly healthy business,” Centum CEO James Mworia told CNBC Africa.

The listed investment company profit after tax grew to 1.23 billion Kenya shillings up from 892 million Kenya shillings a similar period last year. The company’s investment income in the six months to September was recorded at 1.89 billion Kenya shillings from 1.19 billion Kenya shillings.

Earlier in the year, the firm launched a five year strategy as Centum focuses on eight key sectors – real estate, energy, financial services, Information Communication Technology (ICT), Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), healthcare and education.

The firm raised its stake in real estate with an eye on double-digit returns that the sector has yielded over the past decade.

“On real estate specifically our focus is largely commercial real estate and if one looks at the trend of urbanization, the bulk of African cities are not yet build and someone has to build them and that is an opportunity we identified four years ago,” Mworia said.

Centum has a mega project dubbed Two Rivers in an affluent neighborhood in Nairobi that sits on 100 acres of prime property.

The investment firm recently completed the acquisition of K-REP Bank Limited, a fully licensed commercial bank with total assets of 13.9 billion Kenyan shillings as at March 2014. In addition to acquiring K-REP the firm has announced it has acquired King Beverage, the sole distributor of Carlsberg in Kenya. In the power sector, the company is working on the 960MW coal power plant as well as 70MW geothermal project.

In September, the Global Credit Rating Company upgraded the firm’s credit rating short and long term outlook to A and A1 respectively.