Equity CEO, Kenyattas lose billions in a month

President Uhuru Kenyatta (left), James Ndegwa (centre) and Equity Group chief-executive James Mwangi. FILE PHOTO | NMG The Kenyatta family, the family of former Central Bank governor Philip Ndegwa and Equity Group chief executive James Mwangi have each lost up to Sh2 billion at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) over the past month in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has hit stocks.

Mr Mwangi leads the pack after his five percent stake in Equity shed Sh2 billion since February 19, making him one of the biggest victims of the multi-billion shilling share price erosion at the Nairobi bourse.

Equity is one of blue-chip stocks favoured by foreign investors who over the past few weeks have sold their equities holdings across the globe as they seek shelter in fixed income assets, including government bonds.

Mr Mwangi was followed by the Kenyatta family, whose 13.2 percent stake in NCBA Group has lost Sh1.5 billion over the past month, cutting their wealth in the bank to Sh5.5 billion.

NCBA emerged following the merger between the listed NIC Bank and the private CBA Group. The merged shares, including those owned by the Kenyatta family, started trading on October 22 at the bourse.

The Ndegwa family, which owns 12 percent of NCBA, has seen their paper wealth in the merged bank plunge Sh1.3 billion to hit Sh5 billion.

Billionaires who have taken a hit at the NSE over the past month include Co-op Bank CEO Gideon Muriuki, investment banker Jimnah Mbaru, Britam chief executive Benson Wairegi and WPP Scangroup boss Bharat Thakrar.

The billionaire investors had stock holdings valued at a total of Sh27.5 billion on February 18, with the market sell-off cutting their wealth to Sh21.6 billion as of Wednesday.

The companies they have invested in are, however, set to pay them dividends of at least Sh1 billion combined in the next few months, offsetting some of the wealth erosion.

Mr Mwangi’s holdings over the one-month period in Equity dropped to Sh7.3 billion from Sh9.4 billion, a decline of 22 percent. But his share price erosion at the NSE is larger when his investments in firms like Britam are reflected.

Interim dividend Mr Mwangi is set to earn gross dividends of Sh471.7 million –the largest payout to an individual investor on the NSE— after the bank enhanced its distribution to Sh2.5 per share for the year ended December.Equity had been paying dividends of Sh2 per share in the previous years. […]

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