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Private home-owners scale up demand for swimming pools
NAIROBI…Private home owners now account for 80 per cent of total pool heat pump sales in Kenya, previously the preserve of hotels in the country. This is according to statistics by Kenya’s leading water and energy solutions company Davis & Shirtliff. Nairobi, the East African region’s economic powerhouse, also has one of the continent’s greatest concentrations of swimming pools. ‘’Thousands of wealthy home owners in Nairobi’s upmarket residential areas of Karen, Lavington, Westlands and Muthaiga have spent upwards of KShs 1.5 million each building swimming pools so they can swim at leisure and enhance the luxury of their homes,’’ said Edward Davis, Business Development Director at Davis & Shirtliff. With the various developments that have taken place over the years, swimming pools now come in a plethora of guises and have also become more affordable. For example a standard commercial pool is 25x12.5m in measurement and the estimated cost of construction is between Sh7 million to Sh9 million for Masonry with +25% added for reinforced concrete. It is possible that in the next few years, swimming pools will become a crucial add-on in developments and property developers in urban areas will struggle to sell or lease properties that do not offer or will have to offer them at much lower prices. With a bullish property market it is expected that in the near future swimming pool construction will accelerate and add to the estimated 10,000 pools that already exist. The irony is however that despite the temperate climate, an unheated pool in high-altitude Nairobi is for most of the year too cold for the average Kenyan to swim in. New methods of pool heating have evolved over the years with the traditional methods of pool covers (blankets) and electric heating elements being thought of as effective but in the case of pool covers, cumbersome and unsightly. Heating elements are also exorbitantly expensive to run. ‘’Modern technology has addressed some of these concerns with the most popular methods of pool heating currently being energy efficient heat pumps and more recently, invisible liquid pool cover. Pool heat pumps also enjoy a high co-efficient performance,’’ added Mr Davis. Solar heating panels are a simple but effective way of harnessing some of the sun’s heat in order to reduce the amount of energy required from the heat pump. The panels are mounted in a sunny area and all the water circulating from the pool is pumped through them before passing into the heat pump.
Funguo acquires majority equity stake of Feastfoods Processors Limited.
NAIROBI…Funguo Investments Limited has acquired a majority stake in Feastfoods Processors Limited, a food processing company that has been set up to manufacture fruit juice puree and concentrates in Kwale County. The value of the project is Ksh 1 billion, and the funds for the first phase have already been availed.
The transaction will see FIL, one of the country’s leading investment companies own 51% stake of Feastfoods, a company set to produce puree and concentrates of mango, pineapple and passion from locally grown fruits, mainly from Kwale County as well as other counties in the Coastal and lower Eastern regions. It is estimated that about 65% of puree concentrate is usually imported.
The completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals.
‘’We’re sure this is going to be a success because there’s a ready market for fruit concentrates both locally and internationally,’’ said Funguo Investments Limited CEO Mr Kenneth Muchina.
The establishment of the Feastfoods factory is in partnership with Feastfoods Processors Limited and will in part be funded by a long term debt of KShs 276 million from ICDC, part of Ksh 425 million that is already available in the first phase. ICDC is the development finance institution owned by the Government of Kenya.
Feastfoods is expected to directly employ over 50 employees and provide a market for over 30,000 farmers in the coastal county who often suffer losses for lack of a ready market for their fruits. They will in the early years supply Feastfoods with mangoes, passion fruits and pineapples, with a likelihood of other fruits and even vegetables and nuts being added to the portfolio of farm produce that Feastfoods will process.
“Fruits from the coastal region of Kenya have largely been going to waste with post-harvest waste levels for mango as an example estimated at 55 % of total produce. Feastfoods intends to offer a partial solution to this problem by buying from the farmers and processing the fruits to make puree and concentrate to sell to local and export markets juice and other food product manufacturers,” said Kenneth Muchina, Funguo Investments Limited’s CEO.
The acquisition of the stake in Feastfoods by Funguo adds to Funguo’s list of strategic investments that span stakes in Insurance, Insurance Brokerage, Risk and Pensions Consulting, Real Estate, Beverages and Concrete Products.
“We estimate the fruit processing plant will produce about 20 tons of fruit puree daily. The entire plant has a processing capacity of 36,000 tons per annum,” Mr Muchina explained.
It is expected that the ground breaking for the processing plant will be in 3 months with the commissioning of the state-of-the-art plant slated for October this year.
Feastfoods joins other businesses in the coastal region of Kenya that leverage on the available market of fruits in the region. The greatest beneficiaries of this entry in to the fruit buying market by Feastfoods are the farmers who will now have an expanded market for their produce.
About Funguo Investments Limited (FIL) Funguo Investments Limited is a Kenyan investments company whose mission is to pursue investment opportunities that generate returns exceeding investor expectations, and vision is to be the preferred investment vehicle for wealth creation. FIL targets strategic investments in: Construction Sand Material, Real Estate, ICT, Financial Services, Education Services, Health Services, Agribusiness (processing), Fast Moving Consumer Goods, Electricity supply and Transport and Logistics in Kenya. The company is headed by Mr Kenneth Muchina as the Chief Executive Officer.