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Centum endorses Longhorn Publishers expansion plan, digital strategy

By KEN MACHARIA, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct. 31 – Centum Investment Company has endorsed Longhorn Publishers’ strategic plan in its first AGM since it took a majority stake through a Rights Issue completed in April this year.

During the AGM attended by over 250 shareholders on Friday, Centum revealed its increased stake in Longhorn Publishers Limited to 60.20 per cent, a move geared towards strengthening the publishers’ continued expansion into regional growth markets. According to Longhorn’s Managing Director Simon Ngigi, one of the key investment decision made from the proceeds of the Rights Issue was the acquisition of a 92 per cent shareholding in LawAfrica Publishing Limited, a purchase that gives Longhorn Publishers an automatic leadership position in the East African legal publishing industry.

According to the group’s chairman F.T. Nyammo, the publisher seeks to strengthen its position in the region in line with its expansion plans. “The Directors are of the view the Longhorn Publishers will benefit from the synergies of the two businesses, not only in Kenya, but within the region where Longhorn Publishers and LawAfrica both have subsidiaries,” Nyammo said.

Among areas that the publishing house will focus on include the digital arena where Longhorn has launched digital products and an e-learning platforms for what it calls digital learners in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Zambia, South Sudan and Ethiopia.

During the AGM, Centum also agreed to defer the divestment of the Funzi Road property given the cyclical softening of the local real estate market as the country heads into an election year. The meeting further resolved that Longhorn’s expansion plan will continue with provisions being made for renting office space in line with the plan. Speaking after the meeting, Ngigi reiterated the company’s commitment to its pan-African business model as a key pillar for its future growth.

“We are a pan-African business and will continue to maximize returns from existing opportunities, and actively seek new ventures in new markets that will secure our future growth,” asserted Ngigi. His sentiments were endorsed by Centum’s Brian Kiai who reiterated the investment company’s dedication to Longhorn Publishers and its current strategy.

“We are very excited by the management team and what they are doing in terms of their strategy…we expect the business to be going to greater heights in the future,” said Kiai. “The reason why Centum bought into Longhorn’s vision is because we saw that the business is really complementary to what we are doing in education in our own business.” Centum also hinted at boasting human capital through diversification.

“Centum buying into this business is saying we have full, total, undisputed commitment to the management team of Longhorn, we believe in their strategy plan but more importantly we will support them in whatever plans they are going for as far as product, geographical diversification and enhancing human capital,” Kiai proclaimed.

Longhorn Publishers Limited is the only ISO book publisher listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. The company also has partnerships with the Cambridge University Press, Bible Society of Kenya, Biblica Kenya, Scripture Union of Kenya and Educat of South Africa

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