The Kirubi family is a name that is synonymous with wealth, influence, and success in Kenya and the wider East African region. Known for their astute investments and business acumen, the late Chris Kirubi, patriarch of the family, built an empire worth Ksh20 billion ($140 million) before his demise at the age of 80 in 2021.
Chris Kirubi’s success can be attributed to his significant stakes in various sectors, which allowed him to diversify his wealth. His portfolio included investments in media, manufacturing, property management, insurance, and other ventures. His holdings in leading Kenyan companies also played a key role in his considerable wealth.
As the chairman of multiple prominent companies, Chris Kirubi played a pivotal role in shaping the business landscape of Kenya. His leadership and guidance were instrumental in the success of these companies. Let’s take a closer look at some of the powerhouse companies owned by the illustrious Kirubi family.
Haco Tiger Brands Kenya Limited is one of the companies that bears the Kirubi family’s imprint. Haco Tiger Brands is a leading manufacturer and distributor of fast-moving consumer goods in Kenya. With a diverse portfolio of products ranging from food and beverages to personal care and home care, Haco Tiger Brands has established itself as a household name in the country.
Capital Media Group is another significant asset in the Kirubi family’s empire. As a media conglomerate, Capital Media Group operates various radio stations, television channels, and online platforms. It has played a crucial role in providing news, entertainment, and information to Kenyan audiences and has contributed to the growth and development of the media industry in the country.
International House Limited is a property management company that is also a part of the Kirubi family’s portfolio. With a focus on commercial and residential properties, International House Limited has established a reputation for excellence in property management and has contributed to the growth and development of the real estate sector in Kenya.
DHL Worldwide Express Limited is another prominent company owned by the Kirubi family. As a leading provider of express logistics services, DHL Worldwide Express has played a crucial role in facilitating commerce and trade in Kenya and the wider East African region. Its efficient and reliable services have made it a preferred logistics partner for businesses in various industries.
Nairobi Bottlers is a company that holds a special place in the Kirubi family’s empire. As a franchise bottler of Coca-Cola products, Nairobi Bottlers has become a household name in Kenya. Under the leadership of the Kirubi family, Nairobi Bottlers has achieved significant growth and success and has played a pivotal role in the beverage industry in the country.
Smart Applications International Limited is a technology company that is owned by the Kirubi family. It specialises in the development and implementation of cutting-edge solutions and products in various sectors, including education, healthcare, finance, and agriculture. Smart Applications International has contributed to the digital transformation of Kenya and has been at the forefront of innovation in the country.
Following Chris Kirubi’s passing in 2021, his children, Robert Kirubi and Mary-Ann Musangi, inherited the majority of his vast fortune. With 80 percent of the wealth left to them, Robert and Mary-Ann continue to carry on the legacy of their father and have taken on the responsibility of overseeing the powerhouse companies owned by the Kirubi family. The remaining 20 percent of the wealth was divided among Chris Kirubi’s siblings, ensuring that the family’s success is shared among its members.
Who Owns Africa has conducted an extensive investigation into the assets and holdings of the Kirubi family and findings have revealed that the family has a significant presence in the business world through their direct ownership or controlling interest in seven prominent companies. These companies span a range of industries, demonstrating the family’s diversified portfolio.
1. Centum Investment Plc: In the world of investment firms, there are only a few that can match the legacy and success of Centum Investment Plc. Under the astute leadership of the late Chris Kirubi, Centum Investment emerged as a top investment firm in East Africa, commanding respect and admiration from both investors and industry peers alike. With a focus on real estate and private equity assets in sectors like consumer goods, finance, agribusiness, and power, Centum Investment has continuously showcased its ability to identify viable investment opportunities and create lasting value.
One of the key factors behind Centum Investments remarkable success lies in its strategic investment approach. The company meticulously analyses potential investment opportunities, seeking out those with strong growth potential, solid management teams, and a clear path to profitability. This stringent evaluation process has enabled Centum Investment to build a diverse and robust portfolio, mitigating risks and maximising return on investment for its shareholders.
Real estate has been one of Centum Investments core areas of focus, and for good reason. With a growing population and expanding middle class in East Africa, there is a constant demand for quality residential, commercial, and industrial properties. Centum Investment has seized this opportunity by investing in landmark projects such as Two Rivers Mall, the largest shopping complex in East Africa, and Pearl Marina, a luxurious waterfront development in Uganda. These projects have not only delivered impressive financial returns for the company, but they have also contributed to the economic growth and development of the regions in which they are located.
In addition to real estate, Centum Investment has demonstrated a keen interest in private equity investments. By strategically partnering with promising companies in sectors like consumer goods, finance, agribusiness, and power, Centum Investment has been able to tap into untapped market potential and drive growth. Whether it’s investing in leading consumer brands, supporting the development of financial institutions, or promoting sustainable agricultural practices, Centum Investment seeks to create positive and lasting impact in the communities it operates in.
It is worth noting that Centum Investment has not achieved its success in isolation. The Kirubi family, led by the late Chris Kirubi himself, has played an instrumental role in the company’s growth and development. With a significant 31 percent stake in the company, the Kirubi family’s commitment and strategic guidance have been pivotal in shaping Centum Investment’s trajectory. Their wealth of experience and business acumen have not only ensured the company’s stability and profitability but have also motivated and inspired a new generation of investors and entrepreneurs in East Africa.
2. KCB Group: In the ever-evolving landscape of the banking industry, certain financial institutions stand out for their ability to adapt, innovate, and successfully navigate through changing times. One such institution is KCB Group, a prominent financial services conglomerate that has established itself as a leader in East Africa’s banking sector.
KCB Group, with its humble beginnings rooted in Kenya, has grown to become a sprawling entity with a wide-ranging portfolio. The group’s success can be attributed to its strategic expansion, robust business model, and relentless pursuit of excellence.
Overseeing a network of subsidiaries across East Africa, KCB Group’s influence extends beyond its native Kenya. With subsidiaries in Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Ethiopia, the group has positioned itself as a regional powerhouse in the financial services sector.
At the heart of KCB Group’s success is its flagship entity, KCB Bank Kenya. With a strong emphasis on customer-centricity, the bank has emerged as a market leader in Kenya, providing a comprehensive range of financial solutions to individuals, businesses, and institutions. Whether it is offering cutting-edge digital banking services or developing innovative loan products, KCB Bank Kenya consistently strives to exceed customer expectations.
In addition to KCB Bank Kenya, the KCB Group also includes the National Bank of Kenya, which it acquired in 2019. This strategic acquisition further bolstered the group’s presence in the Kenyan market, enabling it to serve an even larger customer base. The National Bank of Kenya, with its diverse product offerings and extensive branch network, complements KCB Bank Kenya’s operations, allowing the group to cater to a broader spectrum of clients.
While KCB Group’s banking subsidiaries form the core of its operations, the group’s influence extends beyond traditional banking services. Through its subsidiaries, the group provides a range of services, including insurance, asset management, and investment banking. This diversified approach allows KCB Group to cater to the varied financial needs of its clients, offering them an array of solutions under one roof.
Backing KCB Group’s operations is a team of dedicated professionals, who tirelessly strive to uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and ethics. Led by prominent Kenyan businessman Chris Kirubi, who holds a minority stake in KCB Group, the group’s leadership plays a pivotal role in guiding its growth and expansion.
3. Haco Industries: Haco Industries, a prominent fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturer, stands as a testament to the vision and leadership of the late Chris Kirubi’s family. Founded in the early 1970s with humble beginnings, Haco Industries has steadily flourished under the Kirubi family’s guidance, establishing itself as one of the leading suppliers of a diverse range of products in East Africa.
With a single product serving as its foundation, Haco Industries embarked on a transformative journey that has propelled the company to astounding heights. The unwavering commitment to quality, innovation, and customer satisfaction has been the driving force behind the company’s success.
Over the years, Haco Industries has garnered an impeccable reputation for its unparalleled product portfolio, encompassing various lifestyle, food, and beauty brands. This conglomerate has mastered the art of catering to the needs and preferences of consumers across different market segments.
Haco Industries’ commitment to excellence is deeply ingrained in its manufacturing processes. The company embraces state-of-the-art technology and adheres to stringent quality control measures, ensuring that each product that reaches the market meets the highest standards. This dedication to quality has been Haco Industries’ differentiating factor, separating it from its competitors and fostering consumer trust and loyalty.
One of the key strengths of Haco Industries lies in its ability to adapt and innovate. The company continuously monitors market trends, emerging consumer preferences, and technological advancements to drive product development. By anticipating and meeting the ever-evolving needs of consumers, Haco Industries has successfully maintained its competitive edge.
Another remarkable aspect of Haco Industries is its emphasis on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The company actively engages in initiatives that foster sustainable development and social welfare. Through various projects in education, healthcare, and environmental conservation, Haco Industries has demonstrated its commitment to giving back to the communities it operates in.
Under the leadership of the Kirubi family, Haco Industries has not only grown significantly but has also expanded its presence beyond East Africa. The visionary leadership, coupled with strategic business decisions, has led to new ventures and collaborations, enabling Haco Industries to extend its reach and maximise its impact in the global market.
Despite its tremendous growth, Haco Industries remains deeply rooted in its core values and the principles set forth by its founders. The family-centric approach adopted by the Kirubi family has fostered a cohesive work environment, where employees are regarded as valuable assets. This people-centric culture has not only contributed to the company’s success, but it has also created a strong sense of loyalty within the Haco Industries’ workforce.
4. Bendor Estate Limited: Bendor Estate, located in Thika, Kenya, is a reputable real estate company. In January 2022, the late Chris Kirubi made a significant investment of Ksh 5.68 billion ($40.1 million) in Bendor Estate, further solidifying the family’s prominent position in East Africa’s real estate industry.
5. Bayer East Africa Limited: Known for their influence in the healthcare sector, the Kirubi family holds a substantial stake in Bayer East Africa, which is a subsidiary of Bayer AG. According to court documents from January 2022, their ownership interest in Bayer East Africa is valued at Ksh1.8 billion ($12.7 million).
6. Capital Media Group: Through his private investments, Chris Kirubi has enabled the Kirubi family to have an involvement with Capital Media Group (CMG), an esteemed multimedia communications company renowned for its exceptional TV, radio, and web content creation capabilities. Notably, CMG owns Capital FM, one of Kenya’s highly acclaimed radio stations.
7. International House Limited: Founded in 1985 following the acquisition of International House from Queensway Development Corporation, International House Limited stands as a respected property management company. Over the years, they have expanded their portfolio to include residential properties like Shanzu Gardens in Kyuna, Avocado Villas near Brookside Grove and Riverside Court on Riverside Drive.
The Kirubi family’s stronghold in the business world is a testament to their vision, perseverance, and entrepreneurial spirit. Through their diversified portfolio of companies, they have made significant contributions to various sectors, driving economic growth and creating employment opportunities in Kenya and beyond.