By Prudence Minayo
Pius Ngugi is one of Kenya’s wealthiest businessmen whose net worth is in billions. From car companies to coffee mills, his businesses have employed thousand of Kenyans both directly and indirectly.
Among his many successful businesses, Kenya Nut Company is what he is mostly known for. The company processes and sells macadamia nuts to various international markets in Europe and North America. Kenya is among the top five largest producers of macadamia nuts in the world and Mr. Ngugi’s company is the largest producer and exporter of these nuts in the country.
Here is the story of the billionaire as told by WoK.
History Of Pius Ngugi Business
Back in the 60s, coffee prices plunged in the international markets. The government thus encouraged farmers to invest in macadamia nuts.
“We started the industry from scratch. We researched and when we found the right seedlings we produced them and we gave them to the farmer free of charge,” Ngugi said in a previous interview.
In 1972, Pius Ngugi ventured into the macadamia nuts business. He began a plantation of these nuts and coffee. Being the most expensive nuts in the world, the billionaire anticipated he would make a tidy sum from the initial crop. This was, however, not the case. There was no market for their unprocessed nuts. The government was unable to buy them. Instead of seeing an insurmountable wall, Ngugi approached the government to help him build a processing company.
In 1974, the government in partnership with Japanese investors helped him set up a small processing company. The company grew tremendously and soon he was not only producing macadamias but also other nuts like cashews. They began exporting the processed nuts under the brand name ‘Out of Africa.’
By 2011, he had 1150ha of macadamia nuts plantation and 600ha of coffee plantation. Production had increased to 1000 metric tons of macadamia and he employed 2,500 people making a turnover of Sh1.5 billion annually. He is said to be affiliated with Thika Coffee Millers.
With the success of the nuts company, the entrepreneur has diversified into other industries including real estate, dairy farming, sweets production and a motor vehicle company known as Amazon Motors. He is also the man behind Leleshwa wine. He owns acres of land in Naivasha where he grows grapes and manufactures them to get wine.
In the world of real estate, he is one of the investors behind Tatu city. Upon its completion, Tatu City is expected to be a one of a kind housing project that will provide about 100,000 homes.
Pius Ngugi married his first wife Josephine Wambui Ngugi while he was in his twenties. They have four children: Angeline, Louise, Mbugua and Mika.
He was also in a relationship with the current Nairobi woman representative Esther Passaris and they have two children together.
The two hogged the headlines in 2003 when Passaris dragged the businessman to court over allegations that he had breached a promise to marry her in 1995. The women rep claimed that they had been lovers since 1992 and lived a lie for over seven years that they were man and wife, the Standard reported.
In a 2016 interview on KTN, the Nairobi women representative admitted to being in a polygamous relationship with the billionaire.
“I am in a polygamous setup and it is not something that I am proud of, neither is it something I am ashamed of: you kinda learn to balance the two, this is the situation that I’m in and I’ve got to accept it,” she said.
During last year’s father’s day celebrations, she celebrated Ngugi for being a wonderful father to her children.
The tycoon also has a daughter with Lynette Lucy Buddery. 7 years ago, The Standard reported she had sued him for sh800k monthly upkeep for their daughter’s needs. In turn, he responded through lawyers that he had built Lynette rental apartments expected to net her more than sh150k monthly and that he was meeting his financial obligations to the child. He was paying fees for their daughter at a very expensive school and had only been behind a few times.