Kenyan businessman Jimnah Mbaru has sold off 50 million shares he owns in Britam Holding, one of Kenya’s largest insurers, to Swiss Reinsurance Company Ltd (Swiss Re), Forbes reports.
According to a recent filing by Britam, Mbaru sold the shares in a private transaction to the Swiss insurer. The financial details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the shares are worth at least $4.4 million (UShs16.4 billion) going by the current share price of 8.8 cents at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE).
It is a deal that consolidates the Swiss insurer’s position as one of the largest shareholders in the Kenyan insurer with a 15.79% stake. Last June, Swiss Re acquired a 13.81% stake in the company from local businessman Peter Munga for a reported $48 million.
Over the last year, Britam’s founding shareholders have ceded control of the company to institutional shareholders. Swiss Re, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and private equity firm Africinvest now hold a combined 40.79% stake in Britam compared to the 39.2% equity held by the Kenyan founding shareholders who include business tycoons Jimnah Mbaru, Peter Munga, Benson Wairegi and James Mwangi. While Swiss Re now owns 15.72% of Britam, Africinvest and IFC own 16.2% and 8.8% respectively.
One Jimnah Mbaru, 71, is regarded as the doyen of Investment Banking in Kenya and is chairman of Dyer & Blair, a Kenyan firm that engages in regional investment banking, securities, investment management, and other financial services.
Britam, which is traded on the Nairobi Stock Exchange and has a market capitalization of close to $300 million, is Kenya’s largest life insurance company and controls over a fifth of the market.