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UK property firms’ foray into the Kenyan market

By Peter Muiruri | July 7th 2016

Kenyan property market has attracted considerable interest from UK-based firms in recent times. A number of these have been involved in the development of mega projects in the country.

Actis, a private equity investor, is the company behind Garden City Mall on Thika Superhighway. The project is an integrated residential, retail and office development comprising 400 apartments and 60,000 square metres of office space. The company is also behind Nairobi Business Park on Ngong Road that consists of lettable space that has attracted world-class services, including restaurants, a fitness centre and convenience stores.

Recently, the company raised Sh50 billion that will be invested in privately-owned real estate projects across Africa. The fund, dubbed Actis Africa Real Estate Fund 3 (ARE3), will be invested in privately-owned real estate projects on the continent. ARE3 is the largest opportunistic private real estate fund targeting sub-Saharan Africa raised in the market to date.

Another firm is Knight Frank. Since its entry into the local market in 1998, realtor firm Knight Frank Kenya has carved a niche as a market leader in the region, offering leading real estate advice and transaction support to investors, corporates and private homeowners. The World Wealth Report released in the first quarter of every year by the parent company in the UK contains authoritative details about the global property sector.

And early this year, Atkins, the engineering firm behind some iconic structures in Dubai, made forays into the Kenyan market by acquiring Howard Humphreys East Africa, another engineering firm. Listed on the London Stock Exchange, Atkins is eyeing mega government projects such as roads and airports.

Also joining the list is St Paul’s Property Plc, which will be listed on the Nairobi Stock exchange in the next few weeks. Unlike the above firms, however, which have invested in the Kenyan market,  St Paul’s Property Plc’s chief intent is to get Kenyans invest in UK property.

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