Billionaire Naushad Merali, once ranked third richest man in Kenya, has died


Naushad Merali grew up in Nairobi, where he attended Highway Secondary School. Little is known about his later studies. [File, Standard]

Businessman Naushad Merali is dead.

Merali, 70, died on Saturday morning while undergoing treatment at Nairobi hospital.

According to a press release from the Shia Ithna Ashri Jamaat secretariat, the billionaire died around 5 a.m.

The cause of his death has not yet been communicated.

The secretariat said the businessman would be buried today, July 3.

Meral was the husband of Zarin Bai Merali and the father of Sameer Merali, Yasmin Merali, son of Noorali Merali (“Bapa”) and brother of Marhum Mohamed Merali, Fatma Bai Nasser, Gully Bai Datoo, Marhum Bashir Merali, Shabbir Bhai Merali and Parin Bai Molou.

Until his passing, Merali chaired Sameer Group, a Kenyan conglomerate active in agriculture, construction, information technology, real estate and finance.

He was previously the chairman and largest individual shareholder of Bharti Airtel’s Kenya operations, but in 2014 he sold his shares and resigned from the company’s board of directors.

His Zarina and Naushad Merali Foundation gives to hospitals and schools in need.

As of November 2015, Merali had a net worth of at least $ 370 million (37 billion shillings), according to Forbes, placing him 48th on the list of Africa’s 50 richest people.

In Kenya, he was ranked third richest person, behind the founder of Bidco Africa Limited, Bhimji Depar Shah (first), who had a net worth of 700 million dollars (7 billion shillings). Bhimji’s son, Vimal Shah, is the CEO of the company.

Shah, who ranked 31st in Africa, was followed by Narendra Raval of the Devki Group, the largest manufacturer of steel products in East and Central Africa. Raval, as of November 2015, had a net worth of $ 400 million (40 billion shillings). Raval’s cement division, National Cement Company, manufactures the best-selling Simba cement in Kenya.

Merali is an industrialist, present in the major sectors of activity, for 30 years.

From 1980 to 2005 he was director of the now defunct Kenya Tea Company.

In 2004, he succeeded in repurchasing 60% of the company’s shares from Vivendi for 230 million dollars (23 billion shillings).

Merali would not transfer ownership until an hour later to Celtel for a profit of $ 20 million (2 billion shillings) while owning 5% of Bharti Airtel’s wireless phone operations in Kenya. In 2014, he would sell all of his Airtel shares.

He is best known for owning three of Kenya’s top companies: Sasini Limited, battery maker Eveready East Africa and Sameer Africa.

Real estate project

In May this year, a company associated with Merali, H. Young East Africa, bid on a tender for the construction and operation of 11,000 houses for the Kenya Defense Forces (KDF), with the promise to collect rent for 15 years.

The project is funded through a public-private partnership (PPP) model, with KDF providing 1 billion shillings for the first phase as military targets to reduce the housing shortage, especially for the cadre non-commissioned officers.

Merali has held positions at the Kenya Export Promotion Council, the International Who’s Who of Professionals and the National Investment Council of Kenya. He has also been appointed to other positions such as member of the Kenya Export Promotion Council, member of the Kenya National Poverty Eradication Commission and member of the Presidential Committee on Employment.

Merali grew up in Nairobi, where he attended Highway Secondary School. Little is known about his later studies.

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