Beer maker East African Breweries (EABL) has sold its Ruaraka-based headquarters making it the latest in a series of asset sales that have helped lift the company’s bottom line in the past couple of years.
The building has been sold to Tembo Sacco, a 2,400-member savings and credit cooperative society made up of current and former EABL staff for Sh675 million.
The society has invited its members to buy the building which is to be leased back to the brewer, with an estimated annual return of between seven and eight per cent.
Tembo Sacco, in an investment pitch seen by the Business Daily, is floating 142,300 shares at a price of Sh5,000 each — totalling Sh711 million — to finance the transaction.
Lydia Mungai, the society’s chief executive, said she expects the deal to be concluded by April next year.
“Our members approved the building’s purchase during a special general meeting on June 22. The sacco intends to pay EABL a substantial amount of money by November so that they are comfortable with the deal,” said Ms Mungai.
EABL has over the past five years been involved in a wave of asset sales, including selling off depots, go-downs, idle land and property and more recently a glass-making subsidiary.
In 2012 the company sold 32 acres of land on Nairobi’s Thika Highway to London-based private equity fund Actis for an undisclosed amount. The multibillion-shilling Garden City Mall now sits on the land.
Around the same time, the beer maker disposed of a go-down in Nairobi’s Industrial Area to its distributor Bia Tosha for approximately Sh100 million, the same firm with whom the brewer is currently locked in a contractual court dispute.
EABL also sold the former Castle Breweries plant on Thika Highway to Kimani Rugendo, the entrepreneur who owns Kevian Kenya Limited — the company that makes the Afia juice brand — in a deal believed to have been worth Sh600 million.
EABL, which is 50.02 per cent owned by multinational brewer Diageo, has in the past 10 years cut its landholding around its Ruaraka headquarters to 60 acres.
Charles Ireland, the firm’s outgoing managing director, said the company only needs “half of it for future capacity expansion”, indicating that the brewer could still put part of the land up for sale.
Mr Ireland made the revelation during the release of the brewer’s results for the year ended June 2015 when it emerged that the company had sold off another 15 acres and booked a Sh1.8 billion gain on the deal. This transaction lifted the firm’s net profit 40 per cent to Sh9.6 billion.
A few months later, another chunk of undisclosed size was sold and Sh707 million booked in the brewer’s 2015/2016 half-year accounts, underscoring the impact that the property sales continue to have on the firm’s earnings.
Source: Business Daily