Biwott Family Sells Yaya Center

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Biwott Family has finally sold the icon Yaya Center which is located in Kilimani Nairobi.

The wealthy Rasik Kantaria family is among the new owners of Yaya Centre, which deepens their investment in the hospitality industry.

“Commercial details of the purchase are bound by confidentiality agreements,” the Yaya Centre property manager Edna Fernandes said in response to the Sunday Nation’s queries.

The private transaction saw the Kantaria consortium take over both the Yaya Centre shopping mall as well as the high-end Yaya Apartments and Hotel.

Sources familiar with the transaction as well as publicly available information indicate the Yaya Centre transaction was valued at billions of shillings, even though parties in the deal remained tight-lipped on the amount.

In 1997, the High Court granted H.Z. Engineering and Construction Company, owned by Mr Biwott, ownership of the Yaya Centre after a court battle in which the company sought possession of the shopping complex from the Central Bank of Kenya’s Deposit Protection Fund Board.

The court case, which at the time valued Yaya Centre at Sh3 billion, emanated from the collapse of Trade Bank, which was also associated with Mr Biwott.

A source familiar with the deal, but who spoke in confidence, told the Sunday Nation: “The transaction was valued not just on the basis of the land but on the worth of the running business which has recorded a high occupancy rate for many years and is therefore priced at a premium, certainly in the billions of shillings.”

Ms Fernandes says Yaya Centre’s occupancy has held constant at about 95 per cent, indicating that its business proposition of proximity to Nairobi’s central business district holds sway over the average economic performance.

The sale of Yaya Center comes years after Biwott family sold their stake in Kenol Kobil. The Biwott estate, through Wells Petroleum Holdings Limited, earned Sh8.4 billion from sale of their 24.99 per cent shares in KenolKobil.

Biwott,who was commonly referred to as total man,died in 2017 leaving assets worth over Ksh 50 billion.His family has decided to sell most of the assets to distribute the money amongst themselves.

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