Oldest Companies In Kenya That Are Still Profitable

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Jubilee Insurance, Bamburi Cement, KCB Bank, and Nation Media Group. |Photo| Courtesy|

Kenya is considered one of the best economic hubs in Africa and has seen the rise of several regional companies and conglomerates in various sectors that have stayed profitable for decades.

While a number of companies have struggled to endure the test of times, several others have witheared the storm and continue to be indursty leaders in various sectors of the Kenyan economy.

In this article, WoK profiles some of the oldest companies in Kenya that are still profitable.

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Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB)

KCB began its operations in 1896 as a branch of the National Bank of India. In 1958, Grindlays Bank merged with the National Bank of India to form the National and Grindlays Bank.The Government of Kenya acquired 60 per cent shareholding in National & Grindlays Bank after independence.

The Kenyan government took full control of the lender in 1970 and renamed it to Kenya Commercial Bank Group.

KCB Bank Kenya, as it is now known, was incorporated in 2015 as a result of the corporate restructure of Kenya Commercial Bank Group (KCB Group). In 2016, KCB Group PLC was registered as a non-operating holding company to manage and oversee all KCB regional units in Kenya, Tanzania, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia.

According to the KCB Group website, the bank has over 204 branches, 421 ATMs, 23543 Mervhants and Agents, 5,162 employees, over 28 million customers and an asset base of over Ksh887.8 Billion.

East African Breweries Limited (EABL)

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EABL is a consumer company and is the leading branded bear, spirits, and adult non alcoholic drinks in East Africa.

EABL began with the creation of Kenya Breweries Limited in 1922. Today, the company is concentrated in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, and its products are sold in more than 10 countries in Africa and beyond. EABL has five production sites across the region.

The alcohol manufacturer has a wide portfolio of brands, including beer brands Tusker, Bell and Serengeti and spirits such as Kenya Cane, Uganda Waragi and Smirnoff X1 among others.

Kaluworks Limited

Kaluworks Limited was set up in 1929 and is amongst the oldest companies in Kenya. The company began as a Cookware Manufacturer, but in 1988, diversified into Aluminium Rolled Products, by setting up a state of the art Aluminium Rolling Plant in Mariakani near Mombasa.

Since then, after a series of upgrades on the process and machinery, comprising of a Foundry, Continuous Caster, Cold Rolling Mill and other Finishing Equipment, Kaluworks started rolling out high quality Aluminium Coils, Sheets, Circles and Roofing Products.

The company has established its mark as a manufacturer of Quality Aluminium Roofing Products and carved a niche for excellence in performance and quality in the Eastern & sub Sahara African region.

Hebatullah Brothers Limited

Hebatullah Brothers Limited is a leading importer, supplier and manufacturer of glass products in Kenya and the East African region. The company has over the years built expertise in the fields of residential, commercial, and industrial projects, making it one of the best in the construction industry in the region.

The company began from scratch as a small shop on Biashara Street, Nairobi in 1930. Hebatullah Brothers endured a turbulent 12 first years and later ventured into the construction industry in 1942 by taking jobs for buildings projects. In 1958, the company’s name became a regional household when they started a mirror work industry in East Africa.

The company has outlets in a number of major towns across the country including Nairobi, Mombasa, and Malindi, among others.

HBL’s product portfolio ranges from protective to decorative glass materials. The company deals with all varieties of building glass; high quality toughened glass assembly; laminated glass of varied thickness; curved glass; anti-bandit glass; bulletproof glass; engraved and beveled glass; and energy-saving double glazed glass for sound proofing and air conditioning. Because of their manufacturing ability, HBL provides competitive prices for glass products in the Kenyan market.

Apart from the manufacture of glass, the company also operates steel and aluminium divisions.

Jubilee Insurance Company Limited

Jubilee Holdings Ltd, was established as the first incorporated Insurance Company based in Mombasa in August 1937. The company has since grown to one of the largest insurance companies in the region with offices in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Mauritius and are recognised as the largest Composite Insurer in East Africa with over 450,000 clients.

The company is listed in the Nairobi Securities Exchange, Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange and the Uganda Securities Exchange.

Diamond Trust Bank (DTB)

DTB is a leading regional bank, listed on the NSE and is one of the largest Banks in Kenya in terms of assets under management. It was founded in 1946.

The lender has over one hundred and thirty branches in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Burundi, some of which are 24/7 digital branches.

DTB is an affiliate of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) and has since grown to have seven subsidiaries in the region.

Bamburi Cement

Bamburi Cement was founded in 1951 by Felix Mandl and is among the oldest companies in Kenya. The cement manufacturer has grown over the years into one of the largest construction companies in East Africa.

Bamburi Cement was listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) (then Nairobi Stock Exchange) in 1970.

The company currently has an annual combined total capacity from its two plants (Nairobi and Mombasa) of 3.2 million tons a year.

In 2021, Bamburi Cement Limited changed its name to Bamburi Cement PLC, in line with provisions of Section 53 of the Companies Act 2015, that requires companies that are both a limited company and a public company to be registered with a name that ends with ‘public limited company’ (plc).

Pollman’s Tours & Safaris

Pollman’s Tours & Safaris is among Kenya’s oldest and most respected tour companies. Founded in the 1950s by Karl Pollman, Pollman’s Tours & Safaris has grown to more become an industry leader with more than 200 late model vehicles meeting the needs of a variety of group and individual clients and custom designed for the roads of Kenya.

Nation Media Group (NMG)

NMG is the largest private media house in East and Central Africa with offices in Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania. It was founded in 1959 by Aga Khan IV.

The media company owns the following publications;  The EastAfricanDaily NationBusiness Daily AfricaDaily MonitorThe CitizenNMG Investor BriefingTaifa Leo and Zuqka. It also owns NTV Kenya, NTV Uganda, Nation FM, and Easy FM.

The company is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), Uganda Securities Exchange, and the Rwanda Stock Exchange. It trades across the three bourses under the symbol ‘NMG’.

Sameer Group

Sameer Africa PLC is a public limited company first incorporated in Kenya in 1969 as Firestone East Africa Limited. The company’s principal business is the importation and sale of tyres and allied products and the letting of investment property.

The company has operations in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi.

Sameer Africa PLC is 72.48 per cent owned by Sameer Investments Limited, a leading economic force in East Africa with over thirty years’ experience in Kenya’s industrial and economic development and a provider of direct and indirect employment for over 30,000 people.

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