Category Archives: Kakuzi

Nairobi Hub Spaces in 2022

Interesting times in Nairobi the last few weeks as Microsoft launched its Africa Development Centre (ADC) office. The Kenya ADC, was launched three days after another one in Lagos, Nigeria that will serve the West Africa region. Across Africa, the company now has 450 staff and engineers working at ADC’s in the two capitals.

The new office also houses the Microsoft Africa Research Institute, its first on the continent as all as a Microsoft Garage, an incubation hub, joining others located in the USA, Canada, Israel, India, and China.

Visa launched an innovation studio in Nairobi, its first in Sub-Saharan Africa to showcase payment solutions and innovations. Visa will co-create e-commerce solutions for the future with partners in the new space that was launched by Patrick Njoroge, the Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya. Visa has other innovations centres in Dubai, Singapore and USA (San Francisco) – which is its flagship “One Market”. There are already partnerships in Africa with Paga and Safaricom.

Who’s next?

It’s not just about technology; NSE-listed agricultural firm Kakuzi has launched an online “Avocademy” hub for farmers to learn about the processes of growing and managing avocado – the current “green gold” crop.

Other Hubs and co-working spaces:

Amazon announced that a new AWS Local Zone would be available in Kenya providing cloud infrastructure. Companies can use it to host their applications by connecting through Amazon local partners including Safaricom.

Google has announced that they will be opening a product development centre in Nairobi and is now hiring engineers, product managers, software engineers, user experience (UX) designers and researchers. Perfect timing as their pioneer Country Manager, Joe Mucheru will continue to serve as Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affairs for the next few months.


Kakuzi 2008 AGM

some excerpts

This small company meeting at the Norfolk shows the importance of having a Chairman (Dr. T R Fowkes) who knows the company well and can interact well with the shareholders. It also shows the pitfalls of having an enlightened shareholding, who can ask some uncomfortable questions of the board, when they don’t receive dividends.

Auditors: Were a hot-button issue today as shareholders questioned the level of disclosure in the financial statements, level of segment reporting e.g. on the sale of timber pole to KPLC. The Kakuzi FC said they were sold at about Kshs. 12,000 per pole (and the Chairman said that operating segments reporting will become a requirement from 2009 – IFRS 8 as will other rules, while the auditor from Pricewaterhousecoopers said it was up to the board to choose which rules to apply before the deadline). The independence of valuations (Siret Tea assets were valued by the Board) was also challenged, and the auditor basically explained that the board was responsible for the accounts (washed his hands, as one shareholder put it), while the Chairman assured shareholders that everything material was in the accounts presented and that the auditors had seen all the detailed accounts.

Dividends: No dividends for yet another year. The Chairman explained that the company had a largely paper profit (from the revaluation of biological assets), not an operational so the company could not afford dividends. The board was focused on reducing the company debt and payment of dividends was just not possible – essentially they’d have to borrow money to pay dividends. They could also try and sell more assets (but the sale of Siret Tea Estates last year generated a lot of controversy).

Crops: Kakuzi has uprooted all their coffee to be replaced with macadamia. They are also likely to uproot citrus. Meanwhile, avocado sales to France are doing well though there are no direct shipping routes.

Del Monte joint venture: The board has signed a new deal with Del Monte and will increase the acreage of pineapples. They previously had a long-running lucrative deal but which Del Monte tore up. After protracted negotiations, the joint-venture has resumed, but with terms not as super for Kakuzi.

Land: One shareholder asked about the safety of company land if the government chooses to resettle people. Chairman said most of their land had 999-year leases from the beginning of the last century.

Outlook for 2008 the Chairman said that this would be determined by four things which were being the company’s control:
– World tea prices. They were good earlier in the year, but the company could not take advantage owing to post-election violence.
– Rainfall in Nandi. There was a drought period in Q1 with production at only 61% but rains have been good in April/May.
– Avocado prices in Europe.
– The exchange rate. The Chairman believes the shilling is artificially strong and this may wipe out any gains from world tea prices.

Goodies:  Most unique so far –  a Kakuzi produce carton [with a Siret tea pack and a pineapple], also soda and bitings.