Kenyan Security Company Considers Listing to Fund Expansion

  • Oil, gas industries seen boosting revenue in next two years
  • Company plans to begin operations in Zambia, Zimbabwe

KK Security, a Kenyan company that provides security services in seven countries, is considering listing or selling a stake in the company to help it expand.

The company, which is based in Nairobi and has annual revenue of more than 100 billion shillings ($100 million), is banking on increased business from the oil and gas industries in its existing markets in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, Chief Executive Officer James Omwando said in an interview June 3. It also plans to set up operations in Zambia and Zimbabwe within two years, he said.

“Oil and gas will be a large sector starting in two years,” Omwando said. The company already works with Tullow Oil Plc, which has discovered oil in Kenya’s northern Turkana region, and BP Plc in Tanzania, where an estimated 58 trillion cubic feet of natural gas deposits have been found.

Countries in East Africa have faced increased attacks by Islamist militants in recent years as al-Qaeda-linked insurgents in Somalia have carried out raids in Kenya, Uganda and Djibouti. The number of crimes reported to Kenyan police rose 4.4 percent last year, according to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics data.

Mall Attack

KK generates about 50 percent of its revenue in Kenya, where demand for security services has increased since al-Shabaab attacked the upmarket Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi in September 2013, killing at least 67 people. The company employs almost 22,000 people, provides services to foreign embassies, international non-governmental organizations and corporate clients. It competes with units of West Sussex, England-based G4S Plc and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. and also has operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Rwanda and Malawi.

“The Westgate terror attack created a need and most of our clients increased their security both in terms of numbers and access control technology such as CCTV,” Omwando said.

Kenya has nearly 4,000 private security companies with more than 400,000 employees, according to KK. Of that number, only 110 are regulated by either the Kenya Security Industry Association or the Kenya Private Security Association. President Uhuru Kenyatta last month signed a new law, the Private Security Act, that will help improve regulation, Omwando said.

“We need to have a regulation body that cuts across the board that implements security standards,” Omwando said. “The implementation of the new Act would be very good for the industry.”

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