At age 70, the Kenyan entrepreneur Chris Kirubi has built an empire spanning real estate, manufacturing and investments that ranks him as one of the wealthiest people in Africa.
Kirubi started building his fortune in the early 1970s. After working for several years as an administrator at Kenatco, a government-owned transport company, he began acquiring run-down residential and commercial properties in Nairobi, using loans from Kenyan financial institutions. He renovated the buildings and flipped them for a profit.
He now counts among his real estate holding Nairobi’s iconic International House building (home to his office) and, through his property holding company , 40 other residential and commercial properties across the city, valued at more than $200 million. Add his other assets and Kirubi is worth a conservative $300 million, placing him at number 31 on Forbes’ inaugural list of Africa’s 40 Richest.Through his various enterprises, including InternationalHouse, Tiger Haco Industries, Capital FM and DHL Kenya, he employs close to 1,000 people.
Kirubi holds the largest individual stake inCentum Investments, a private equity firm listed both on the Nairobi and Uganda stock exchanges with a recent market capitalization of $92 million. Centum has one of the most attractive investment portfolios in the region, including substantial stakes in Coca-Cola, Safaricom (Kenya’s leading telecoms company) and Kenyan Commercial Bank.
Kirubi is also the largest individual shareholder in UAP Insurance, east Africa’s third largest insurance company.In 1998 Kirubi acquired for an undisclosed sum 100% of Haco Industries, a Kenyan subsidiary of a Dutch trading house. Kirubi expanded the company from a distributor of American and British brands to a leading indigenous manufacturer of consumer products, including TCB and Palmers, the bestselling hair and skin care products in the country. In 2008 Haco formed a joint venture with Tiger Brands, one of South Africa’s largest food manufacturers. Revenues of Haco Tiger Industrieswere in excess of $33 million in 2010. It employs close to 700 people.- Forbes