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Centum Investment of Kenya Jumps to Six-Year High: Nairobi Mover

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Sept. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Centum Investment Co., Kenya’s largest publicly traded investment group, jumped to a six-year high after buying a money manager and as investors bet on gains from the company’s first real-estate project.

The stock jumped 6.9 percent to 27.25 shillings by the close in the capital, Nairobi, the highest level since January 2007. More than 2.7 times the three-month daily average of shares traded.

The company said Sept. 17 that it agreed to buy 73.4 percent of Genesis Kenya Investment Management Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. Nairobi-based Centum also registered four companies in Mauritius that will invest in the energy, real-estate and beverage industries. In January, Centum established Athena Properties Ltd. to manage its real-estate developments and those of third parties.

“They have become more focused on real-estate projects and anticipate to benefit from capital gains,” Ted Macharia, an analyst at Nairobi-based AIB Capital Ltd., said by phone. “They will also benefit from tax breaks for incorporating companies in Mauritius.”

Chris Kirubi, the largest investor in Centum plans to invest as much as 1 billion shillings ($11.5 million) to increase his stake to 29.9 percent from 24.99 percent, Nairobi-based Capital FM radio reported.

Shares of the company that invests in banks, breweries and food processing have more than doubled this year, making it the best performer on the FTSE NSE 25 Index, which has gained 28 percent in the period.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi at eombok@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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