The Multi-Billion Businesses Owned by Philip Ndegwa’s Family

Philip Ndegwa was the third governor of the Central Bank of Kenya. He is said to have been the first Kenyan to bank a billion, prompting Forbes magazine to call the now-defunct Economic Review magazine in Nairobi to confirm the legitimacy of the report.

The Alliance High School and Makerere University alumni joined the civil service in 1965 after being appointed as an economic advisor. He would then serve as permanent secretary in various ministries including Agriculture, Finance and Economic Planning.

According to reports, the formation of First Chartered Securities alongside 20 other civil servants was what made Philip Ndegwa a fortune. Following his demise in 1996, the banker left behind a multi-billion empire he had built for about three decades. His vast wealth traversing across various sectors of the Kenyan economy has been passed on to his children.

The Multi-Billion Businesses Owned by Philip Ndegwa's Family
Philip Ndegwa and sons. | Courtesy|

In this article, WoK takes a look at the multi-billion businesses owned by the Ndegwa family.

ICEA Lion Group

First Chartered Securities (ICEA) merged with Lion of Kenya Insurance to form the ICEA Lion Group. According to reports, the Ndegwa family owns an 80 per cent stake in the insurer.

In the fiscal year leading up to December 2020, the group posted a net profit of Ksh2.08 billion. In April 2021, it announced it had crossed the Ksh100 billion mark in asset base according to its integrated report.

The Multi-Billion Businesses Owned by Philip Ndegwa's Family
ICEA Lion Group Waiyaki Way/ Courtesy


The savvy economist also bought 24.98 per cent in NIC bank. In 2012, this stake was valued at Ksh5.22 billion.

In September 2019, the Central Bank of Kenya announced the merger between the Commercial Bank of Africa Limited and NIC Group effective September 30, 2019. Following the merger, effective October 1, 2019, all subsidiaries operated under a Non-Operating Holding Company, NCBA Group PLC.

The family controls a 12.52 per cent stake in NCBA through its investment vehicle, First Chartered Securities.

Following a stellar performance in 2021, shares in NCBA Group rose in value by more than seven per cent in the past 33 days. As a result, the Ndegwa family’s stake has increased from Ksh4.92 billion on May 4 to Ksh5.28 billion at the time of publishing, amounting to a Ksh37.01 million gain.

This also increased the bank’s shares from Ksh23.85 to Ksh25.6 in the same period.

As earlier reported on WoK, the Ndegwa Family closed in on the Kenyatta Family as the top NCBA Group shareholders after transferring an additional Ksh1.7 billion worth of shares.

According to the bank’s annual report, 70.9 million shares that were previously held in an account by asset manager ICEA Lion were moved to the family’s investment at NCBA in the year ended December 2021.

The transaction saw the family’s ownership increase by 12.7 million shares to a 12.52 per cent stake currently worth Ksh5.1 billion.

The Multi-Billion Businesses Owned by Philip Ndegwa's Family
NCBA Bank branch in Nairobi PHOTO/COURTESY

AMbank House

The Ndegwa family also invested in the lucrative real estate sector through AMbank House in Nairobi city. Through the entity, he acquired houses in Riverside estate which he left to his sons.

Inchcape Shipping Services 

The family also operates Inchcape Shipping Services through First Chartered Securities. The company offers world-class services through a port agency and marine services. It is one of the largest shipping docks between Cairo and Cape Town.

According to the company website, the port agency offers services designed exclusively for the needs of customers, including full cargo agency, crew logistics, husbandry, transits, dry docking, bunker calls, protective agency, financial management and outsourced solutions managed through our service centre hubs.

Marine services offered include;

  • Machinery Services – Specialist sourcing of genuine spare parts, equipment and technical services around the globe.
  • Survey and Inspection – Complete survey and inspection services for vessels and cargo in strategically located centres.
  • Project Management (ISS Palumbo) – Expert project logistics and freight forwarding for the growing offshore oil and gas sector.
  • Supply Chain Solutions – Strategic end-to-end solutions for truly efficient handling of spare parts and consumables.
The Multi-Billion Businesses Owned by Philip Ndegwa's Family
Inchcape Shipping Services/ Courtesy

Unga Group

The Ndegwa family also owns 50.93 per cent of miller Unga Group through Victus Limited.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2021, the flour milling firm listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) recorded a net profit of Ksh293.5 million. This was an increase of 343% compared to the Ksh66.2 million it registered in 2020.

The Multi-Billion Businesses Owned by Philip Ndegwa's Family
Unga Group Eldoret/ Courtesy