(Ecofin Agency) - Centum Investment, a Kenyan-based investment holding company that operates in the real estate sector (59% of its investments) and invests in companies and fixed return financial products, said it has a sufficiently strong cash flow to deal with the coronavirus. For its 2019/2020 fiscal year ended 31 March, the company said it has KSh9 billion in cash and marketable securities on the market (about $84.5 million at current exchange rates). This represents an increase of 119% when compared with the company's cash flow statement for the same period in 2019 (KSh4 billion shillings). This strong performance was spurred by the sale of interests in a bottling company and a brewing company which enabled Centum Investment to rise to 19.5 billion shillings.
Centum Investment, whose main shareholders are billionaire John Kirubi (pictured) and the Kenyan government, used this resource to reduce its indebtedness. It first repaid a debt of $75 million in September 2019 (about 7.8 billion shillings). More recently, on June 8, 2020, it erased its last long-term debt of 6.6 billion shillings.
In FY 2019, the company’s turnover from investment income was 14.9 billion shillings, up 56.8% YoY. Operating expenses remained constant. Had it not been for impairment provisions on its investments (-2.7 billion shillings), the company’s net profit would have more than tripled to KSh7.4 billion.
Centum investment has invested in 34 companies in Africa, mainly in East Africa. It has also invested in listed securities, with a preference for bonds in line with its strategy of retaining capital for its investors. The value of its shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange where it is listed reached its lowest level (20.5 shillings) since April 2013 but has since rebounded by 30%.