John Kibunga: From Squatter to Billionaire NSE Investor

Kenyan billionaire investor John Kibunga Kimani
Kenyan billionaire investor John Kibunga Kimani.

In 2018, Billionaire investor at the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), John Kibunga Kimani, set up a foundation valued at Ksh93 million to give back to Kakuzi squatters, a society he spent his childhood in.

At the time, Kibunga explained that he wanted to empower the community and dedicated his 300,000 shares to the foundation identified as Kakuzi Neighbourhoods Development Foundation.

“I want them (squatters) to benefit from my investment in Kakuzi. I will give 300,000 shares of Kakuzi to the foundation over five years,” he explained.

Born from a poor background, Kibunga attended high school in Murang'a before proceeding to Makerere University for his first degree. He then enrolled for his masters at the Reading University located in the United Kingdom.

Kakuzi farm entry gate.
Kakuzi farm entrance gate.

Today, Kibunga is a titan on the NSE corridor with shares across several companies in Kenya including the East African Breweries Limited (EABL) as well as the Nation Media Group (NMG).

He began amassing his wealth in the aughts after he acquired shares in Kakuzi, an Agricultural products manufacturer listed on both London Stock Exchange as well as NSE. In 2005, he owned 2 per cent shares in the company.

As of 2018, however, his shares had increased to 31.19 per cent and were valued at Ksh1.9 billion, behind the then majority owner, the UK multinational Camellia Plc which had 50.7 per cent.

On the Stock Exchange floor, Kibunga, over the years, also managed several shares from many other companies among them Total Energies and Safaricom.

A 2020 Forbes Magazine report indicated that Kibunga pocketed Ksh90 million when he sold more than 3 million shares from Total Kenya.

The publication indicated that he started selling off the shares in 2017 and manage to offset the entire load in December 2018.

It is estimated that his shares in blue chip companies trading at NSE amount to billions and he is ranked among the biggest individual investors at NMG. He owns an estimated 1.8 per cent of the listed firm.

Other companies he has invested in are Centum limited, Isuzu East Africa, Longhorn publishers and NAS Servair among others.

Kibunga is, however, known to guard his privacy religiously and reportedly hates being photographed in public.

The Nation Media Group Headquarters in Nairobi.
The Nation Media Group Headquarters in Nairobi County