Wanjui, tycoon pocket Sh3bn in UAP share sale

Wanjui, tycoon pocket Sh3bn in UAP share sale

Businessmen Joe Wanjui and James Muguiyi have completed the sale of a combined six percent stake in insurance firm UAP Holdings to South African multinational Old Mutual Holdings for R437 million (Sh3.2 billion).

Old Mutual announced in August 2018 that it would buy a total of 12.7 million of the insurer’s shares from the two shareholders but only started the purchases last year, according to disclosures in UAP’s latest annual report.

It acquired 2.8 million shares from Mr Muguiyi in the year ended December and purchased the remaining 9.8 shares earlier this year.

The transactions raised Old Mutual’s stake in the insurer to 66.7 percent from the previous 60.7 percent. “The registration process [for the shares] was delayed and spilled over into 2020. That was the delay but they have been paid,” Arthur Oginga, UAP’s chief executive, said.

Mr Wanjui retired as the company’s chairman on June 22 after serving on the board for a total of 35 years.

The businessman started making money trading food coupons near Nairobi’s Khoja Mosque in the 1940s when he was 11 years.

He later credited his success to receiving an American education and a successful career that saw him rise to executive positions at Unilever East Africa and Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC).

The State-owned ICDC helped create most of the post-Independence billionaires by funding their ventures in pursuit of the policy of Kenyanisation of the economy.

“Quite a bit of it was luck, but a lot more came through very hard work. Even where luck and circumstance play a role, as they do in any situation, every chance they provide must be pursued and grabbed with both hands,” he writes in his book My Native Roots.

“I took advantage of the many breaks that came my way. Those I missed, I lived to regret. All of us get such breaks –but some people do not recognise them.”

Mr Wanjui was one of the most powerful figures during the administration of Mwai Kibaki who appointed him as Chancellor of the University of Nairobi in 2003.Mr Muguiyi previously served as UAP’s chief executive from 1988 and 2012. He has interests in several other companies, some of which he has owned jointly with the late business magnate Chris Kirubi.Mr Muguiyi remains a non-executive director of UAP, which is in the process of merging with the Kenyan units of Old Mutual.The exact number of shares sold to Old Mutual by each of the two […]

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