Centum gets Uganda's approval on real estate project

Monday February 25 2013

Centum Investment Company Limited Chairman James Muguiyi. Centum plans to develop 300 acres of land between Entebbe International Airport and Kampala.

Centum Investment Company Limited Chairman James Muguiyi. Centum plans to develop 300 acres of land between Entebbe International Airport and Kampala.  

By David Mugwe, The EastAfrican

Centum’s master plan to develop 300 acres of land between Entebbe International Airport and Kampala has been approved by Ugandan authorities, paving the way for the investment firm to start the project.

Approval of the master plan was initially supposed to have been done by the end of the first half of 2011 and ground breaking to be done by the end of the first half of last year, according to initial development timelines.

Centum’s chairman James Muguiyi on Monday said the investment firm will also be breaking ground on its Two Rivers development in Nairobi in July this year.

He was speaking during the listing of the investment firm’s Ksh4.16 billion ($47.64 million) bond at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)

“We have also made excellent progress on Pearl Marina and in December 2012 the Pearl Marina master plan was approved by the authorities in Uganda,” said Mr Muguiyi ,adding that the two projects are expected to attract significant flows of capital from across the world that are seeking African exposure.

Centum, whose shares also trade on the NSE, is planning to construct hotels and market resorts, a commercial square with restaurants, an entertainment arena, retail centre, office parks, high end serviced apartments and villas and an international school among other amenities on the 300 acre land.

According to initial development timelines, the first phase of the Pearl Marina project is expected to be completed in the second half of next year.

“Value will be created and crystallized throughout the development cycle of the project through sale of development rights and real estate investment trusts,” said Mr Muguiyi.

Last year, Centum raised Ksh4.16 billion ($47.64 million) through the sale of unsecured bonds in Ksh3.16 ($36.21 million) of which was raised through private placement in September and Ksh1 billion ($11.43 million) which was raised through public offer in December.

Investors, who were mainly institutional, opted for the fixed rate notes which accounted for Ksh2.91 billion ($33.34 million) or 70 per cent of the entire offer.

The balance of Ksh1.25 billion ($14.29 million) accounting for 30 per cent of the offer was taken up in equity linked notes which have a 15 per cent upside of the par value of the notes.

According to Centum’s information memorandum on the bond issue, 58.8 per cent of the proceeds will be used to develop the real estate projects including Pearl Marina project in Uganda and the Two Rivers project in Nairobi the while 39.8 per cent of the proceeds will be used in private equity investments.

The Two Rivers project involves the development of 100 acres of land in the Gigiri-Limuru Road area where the company intends to put up apartments, office parks and hotels.

Mr Muguiyi said that the investment company had recently concluded the acquisition of a 45 per cent stake in Platcorp Holdings which owns Platinum Credit, a non-banking, non-deposit taking micro lender operating in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.

He said that the company is at an advanced stage of closing an investment in the geothermal sector and that it was in the process of making a 40 per cent investment in private equity fund.

In September last year Centum acquired a significant stake in CAL Bank in Ghana making it the fourth largest shareholder and the lender.

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