Intercon, Hilton hotels up for grabs in State divesting plan

The Hilton and Intercontinental Hotels. [File, Standard]

The Kenya Development Corporation (KDC) has embarked on an investor-hunting mission as it looks to privatise some key State assets across the country, which they hope will help unlock billions of shillings in revenue.

This was unveiled during a stakeholder briefing in Nairobi on Thursday that brought together representatives from the banking sector, pension funds and individual investors.

Among the key properties that KDC is looking to dispose of are two iconic five-star city hotels, The Intercontinental and The Hilton, which have a combined valuation of Sh8.3 billion.

KDC says the divestiture will help the government cut its cost by partnering with potential investors and is urging more parastatal to follow suit.

“The starting point is always to remove any barriers in terms of opportunities. I think the opportunity is immense... for us to spur and grow our economy,“ said KDC Director General Christopher Huka.

He said one of the bottlenecks to economic growth has been the Privatisation Act, which he believes once amended will open up the market to investors.

“With the support of the Cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Trade, Investment and Industry Moses Kuria, there is a taskforce already that’s relooking at this in terms of making it easy for mature investment to be either listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange or for government to divest from it.

“Hopefully there should be a discussion around the amendment of the Act itself to allow quick and efficient processing of these divesting activities.”

The hotels, although the most valuable, are just a small part of key assets set to be offloaded from the government should investors be available.

Others include the Sh175-million Mountain Lodge on the slopes of Mount Kenya within the Mt Kenya National Park, where KDC is looking for and investor to take up the property in its entirety or renovate and operate.

Mt Elgon Lodge, which was valued at Sh112.4 million in a 2019 valuation had been closed for renovation and is now in need of an operator or a buyer.

Also in the pot are Mombasa Beach Hotel, Kenya Safari Beach Hotels and the Voi Safari Lodge, whose values were not disclosed.

In Kisumu county, the Golf Hotel which was valued at Sh627 million in 2019, and Sunset Hotel with a Sh380 million price tag have also been listen for sale.

The once-famous Kabarnet Hotel is listed at Sh117 million.

Offload property

KDC is also seeking to offload some government buildings around the country.

Included are the 16-storey Finance House and 12-floor Utalii House in Nairobi's central business district, which have a combined value of Sh3.2 billion.

Zamia Apartments in Mombasa’s Nyali Estate are being put up for sale to a bulk buyer for an unspecified number of units.

In Kizingo, KDC is looking to sell a 10-storey building to a bulk buyer.

The government is also disposing of some of its shareholding in manufacturing firms.

It has put in the market its 32 per cent stake in Coca-Cola bottler Almasi Beverages, a 56 per cent shareholding in Agro-chemical Food Company and in Njimai Kenya and Freshpick EPZ.

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