November 20, 2012 / 2:35 PM / 5 years ago

Kenya's Centum to raise $60 mln for regional expansion

* Portfolio to rise nearly 60 pct to $30 bln in two years

* Eyeing investments in South Sudan

By Beatrice Gachenge

NAIROBI, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Kenyan investment firm Centum plans to raise $60 million this year mainly through the debt market to invest in power, financial services and consumer goods firms in east Africa, it said on Tuesday.

The firm, which is also cross-listed on the Ugandan bourse, says it plans to grow its portfolio by about 60 percent to 30 billion shillings ($350.36 million) in two year’s time, James Mworia, Centum’s chief executive told an investor briefing.

Mworia said the funds would be ploughed into a power firm and a financial services firm in Kenya, east Africa’s leading economy, as well as a fast moving consumer goods in Rwanda, but declined to give specific details of the companies.

“We will be bringing in other investors alongside us to co-invest with us,” Mworia told Reuters, adding the three deals were expected to close in the next three months.

Centum, which has presences in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana, plans to increase the proportion of its assets outside Kenya to 25 percent by March.

The company, which also has investments in real estate, hopes to raise 1.8 billion shillings through a bond, in addition to 3.2 billion shillings it has already raised through a private placement.

Centum is also eyeing Africa’s newest nation, South Sudan, which has suffered a severe shortage of hard currencies since it stopped oil exports earlier this year.

Mworia said this was likely to be a short-term crunch.

“There are some resource related opportunities which we are currently evaluating in South Sudan,” said Mworia without diverging more details.

$1 = 85.6250 Kenyan shillings Editing by James Macharia and David Cowell

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