Samson Ndindi Nyoro, one of President-elect William Ruto’s confidantes, comes off as a rubble-rousing lawmaker that made his name by taunting his opponents.
But beneath this veneer of uncomfortable realpolitik is a ruthless money-making machine that sees and seizes investment opportunities as they come.
Right from an early age, Ndindi, now in his second term as MP for Kiharu Constituency, trained his nose to smell a quick buck.
The last born in a family of four and raised in a three-roomed mud house, he wanted so bad to be rich. And if possible get power, he said in an earlier interview.
And away from the political brouhaha that always seems to follow him, the 37-year-old has perfected the art of making money, an inspiration he must have picked up while up growing in the dusty slums of Kiandutu in Thika.
Today, besides having a litany of investments to his name, Ndindi is the largest individual shareholder of Kenya Power and Lighting Company (KPLC) outside of government, according to filings at the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).
He has also made a name for himself as a voracious stock broker at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE), a venture he started while a First Year student at Kenyatta University.
But it is his investment in KPLC, where he had 27,291,400 shares as at June 2022, that the two-term law-maker is proud of the most. And on which he places most of his hope.
The Bachelor of Arts Economics graduate reckons that with KPLC currently valued at below Sh2.8 billion, it is a very attractive investment as the company has revenues of over Sh120 billion and assets of over Sh320 billion.
“Meaning that the company is valued at less than one per cent of its asset value,” he told Weekend Business, noting that this presents a good opportunity for any buyer of value.
He insists that buying KPLC for him is long-term and accumulative. He has been buying the company's shares for the last four years.
"I am buying KPLC shares because I know we can fix issues of electricity when allowed to make decisions. It has a lot of sleeping capital which can be used to assist more homes,” Ndindi said.
KPLC, the country’s power distributor, is listed at the NSE and after months of faltering seems to have turned a corner, recording a net profit of Sh3.82 billion for the six months to December 2021.
The government is the largest shareholder of KPLC with slightly over 50 per cent of the shares that are not available for trading.
Ndindi’s shares as at June were valued at around Sh43.7 million, a far-cry from the billions worth of shares at NSE owned by the likes of Equity Bank's James Mwangi, the late Chris Kirubi of Centum Investments or John Kibunga Kimani who has a significant stake in agricultural firm Kakuzi.
His diminutive stake at KPLC, around 1.4 per cent, does not give him any controlling rights and cannot sway any decisions at the power utility firm- though that is certainly his dream.
But, at least, this gives the legislator some bragging rights. He is ahead of serial stock market investors such as Baloobhai Patel and his wife Amarjeet Baloobhai who have a total of 20,763,300 shares.
The second largest shareholder at KPLC is Standard Chartered Nominees who have a 1.66 per cent shareholding.
It is not only in Kenya Power that Ndindi has put his money. He has also been snapping up shares of financial institutions because, he says, he sees value in them.
And with a string of investments, both at the NSE and out of it, the son of peasants seems to have washed his hands and can now sit at the table of men.
Snapped up shares
The MP, whose mother was a peasant and father a carpenter, now occupies the same shareholding position that was once held by the late Kirubi.
In 2011, Kirubi was the largest individual shareholder of KPLC, according to filings at CMA.
The tycoon is reported to have quietly snapped up millions of ordinary shares in the power distributor in December 2010 after the company offered more than 480 million shares to the public through a rights issue.
Another prominent person that was high in the pecking order of individual shareholders was Mama Ngina Kenyatta, outgoing President Uhuru Kenyatta's mother and matriarch of the Kenyatta business empire.
Ndindi was born in 1986 at Gathukeini location, Murang'a County.
He attended and completed his preparatory education at Gathukeini Primary School and won a placement at Kiaguthu Boys Secondary School.
However, he could not join the school due to prohibitively high fees, he says in his motivational book, 'How to Succeed in High School.’
The family then enrolled him at Kiambugi Boys Secondary because the school principal was a family friend and would allow for a flexible fee payment plan.
He repaired shoes for his schoolmates at Kiambugi to supplement his family's meagre income. He completed his secondary education in 2003 and was the only student in Kiambugi in his year to win a university placement.
Ndindi started buying shares of various companies listed at the NSE—then known as Nairobi Stock Exchange—when he was still a student at Kenyatta University.
"I got into buying shares after operating a hotel in the university and doing some business of selling stuff in secondary school to raise school fees and make ends meet," he said. "The shares business looked easy to invest in."
He started out as a stock broker, cutting his teeth at Ngenye Kariuki and Company Stockbrokers where he worked part time while still in college.
In his first year at university, Ndindi started his own company, Stockbridge Securities, an agency that helped in buying and selling of shares.
The agency worked with investment banker Jimnah Mbaru’s Dyer and Blair, one of the most prominent stock brokers in the country.
With Stockbridge, he assisted many students to open CDS (Central Depository System) accounts, which are necessary for anyone who wants to trade in shares and bonds at the NSE.
In 2016, Ndindi co-founded a stock brokerage firm, Investax Capital and due to conflict of interests, resigned from Stockbridge.
Today, Investax Capital is one of the largest stock broking agencies in the country with several branches.