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Bhimji Depar Shah: How Kenya’s Second Richest Man Built His Fortune

By Prudence Minayo

Bhimji Depar Shah is a Kenyan businessman and industrialist. He is the founder and chairman of Bidco Africa, one of East Africa’s largest conglomerates with interests in over 13 African countries.

Bidco has over 40 brands and is considered the largest marketer and producer of fast-moving consumer goods.

In 2015, Forbes ranked Shah as the richest man in Kenya with a net of $700 million and the 31st richest in Africa. In 2022, he was ranked the second richest man in Kenya with an estimated net worth of $750 million.

File image of Bhimji Depar Shah and his sons. |Courtesy| Marcopolis|
File image of Bhimji Depar Shah and his sons. |Courtesy| Marcopolis|

Background

Bhimji was born in 1931 in Mombasa Kenya. He was the son of a dhow trader and ventured into business while still a teenager. The entrepreneur moved to Nyeri where he started and operated a petrol station.

Also Read: Sameer Merali: Businesses And Companies Owned By The Richest Man In Kenya

Formation of Bidco

Bidco Industries Limited was founded in 1970 for the purpose of manufacturing garments. In 1985, the company began manufacturing soaps.

Six years later, they ventured into the manufacture of edible oils and opened a plant in Thika.

Today, the company is one of the biggest oil manufacturers in the country. In 2015, it was said to be the leading fats and edible oils manufacturer controlling 24 per cent of the Kenyan market.

Some of their oil brands include Kimbo premium oil blend, Elianto corn oil, Ufuta cooking oil, Olive gold-blend oil, Sungold sunflower oil, Soyagold soyabean oil, Golden Fry cooking oil and Bahari Fry cooking oil.

Also Read: The Multi-Billion Businesses The Top Five Richest Men In Kenya Control

Bidco has also been ranked among the top 5 most admired brands in Kenya according to a 2019 article by African Business Magazine.

Apart from edible oils, Bidco Africa also manufactures animal feeds, personal care and beauty products, baking products, foods and beverages, detergents and laundry bars.

Family

Bhimji Depar Shah is the father of Vimal Shah who serves as the current Chief Executive Officer of Bidco Africa. He is an alumnus of the United States International University (USIU) and is a recipient of many awards including the Ernst & Young African Entrepreneur of the Year.

Mr Shah’s other son Tarun Shah also works in the business as the group’s executive director.

Bidco FC

Bhimji Depar Shah is the founder and chairman of Bidco United. He has been at the helm of leadership of the Thika-based club since its inception seeing it grow from just a local team playing in the National Super League (NSL) to participating in the Kenyan Premier League (KPL).