So, What’s New in Business?

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November 13, 2015

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If you take your interest in the business world seriously, we know you were in the audience of the “Great Talks” this last weekend.

The event features speakers drawn from the best in Kenya’s entrepreneurs and business leaders such as founder of JamboPay, Danson Muchemi or Suzie Beauty’s Suzie Wokabi, as well as UAP-Old Mutual Group’s James Wambugu.

Headlining the event was 28 year old multimillionaire Vusi Thembekwayo- Africa’s own venture capitalist and much sought after public speaker.

Charging up the crowd with his blend of easy humor and powerful business and life insights, attendees most assuredly left the venue with a renewed zeal for life and their business goals.

Thembekwayo is open about having started small before rising to the dizzying financial heights he now occupies- a fact that we’re sure brings comfort to residents of Mukuru doing their part to alleviate poverty with Fresh Life toilets.

This is a brand of low-cost toilets set up in strategic areas of the slum, with resident investors running the toilets for a small fee.

The initial investment needed to start out is around KES. 50,000, which is out of reach for most residents of Mukuru.

The initiative is made possible by Sanergy, a firm that connects interested Mukuru residents with funding through loans from an American crowd-sourcing platform known as KIVA.

These loans are repaid in monthly installments spread out over a maximum of two years.

Speaking of investments, APA Insurance CEO Mr. Ashok Shah upset the the business norm by purchasing shares in rival underwriter, CIC Insurance this week.

While you might question the logic of buying shares in your competitors, Mr. Shah asserts that this purchase- made in a personal capacity- seemed an interesting investment on his part, and he should know!

Who else would be better placed to predict investment returns in the insurance industry than a key player in the 6th largest insurer by market share in Kenya?

Of course no conversation about sale of shares can be complete without including the exit of Orange from Kenya’s telecommunications industry.

An announcement from the Orange Group came early in the week announcing their agreement with Helios Partners regarding their relinquishing of all rights in the sector.

Orange had purchased 70% stake in Telkom Kenya about 8 years ago with hopes of capitalizing on the rapidly expanding industry, with an end game of taking it public. We await to see if Helios will be able to prosper where others have failed.

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To end on a sweet not still on the subject of buy-outs, Razco Limited- makers of Lyons Maid ice-cream has officially received authorization from the Competition Authority of Kenya to purchase a key competitor, Alpha Dairy. For ease in reference, Alpha Dairy makes the Ooh! ice cream available at your local retailer.

This comes about a year after French Danone secured a 40% stake in Brookside as part of its strategy to embed itself in emerging markets, which account for nearly 60% of its revenue.

With all these buy-outs, market exits and vibrant new entrants across several industries, what’s your prediction for the next hot business news item? What company would you buy-out or merge with if you had the chance? Do have a profitable weekend.


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