The Nation Media Group's Principal Shareholder, His Highness the Aga Khan, has notified the Kenya Capital Markets Authority of his desire to make a change in the way he holds his shares in the Group, to ensure the long-term continuity of the Nation Media Group.
His Highness, who founded the Group in 1962, now holds 44.73 percent of the group's shares.
Instead of continuing to hold these shares through his personal account, he intends to transfer them into a development company of which he is the Chairman, the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), which initiated its activities in eastern Africa in 1963 and has since expanded into 19 countries throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and North America, AKFED is organised as a Swiss corporation, headquartered in Geneva, and is dedicated to investing resources in ways that promote long-term economic development, particularly in the less developed countries of Asia and Africa in a way which expands the economy, creates employment, promotes the transfer of technology and enhances corporate social responsibility.
His Highness the Aga Khan is chairman of the company and his brother, Prince Amyn Aga Khan, chairs its executive committee.
AKFED has shareholdings in a wide variety of countries, in many different fields of economic endeavour. Its activities range from food processing to packaging and printing, from tourism to power supply, from banking, microfinance and insurance to telecommunications.
As the Nation Media Group enters a new era of corporate expansion, its more direct participation in the Aga Khan's wide-ranging family of development institutions will be a spur to company growth and a new source of corporate strength.
The Aga Khan believes that "putting these NMG shares into an institutional framework will ensure the long term continuity of the Nation Media Group." In this context, the Aga Khan has also informed the Capital Markets Authority that AKFED does not intend to sell or transfer these shares in the foreseeable future.
The Aga Khan emphasised that his commitment to the Group will remain undiminished. "I shall continue to watch over the future of NMG, to demonstrate my continued personal support for the Group, and to bring to it the same level of thought as I have contributed in the past."
The Group's role as an independent source of news and information for the people of East Africa will continue.
"No change in the Board of Directors of the Group is anticipated, nor in its management, nor in its relationships with its staff, its readers, its advertisers or any other institutions or constituencies in Kenya or other parts of the region," the Aga Khan added.
"The Nation has built a proud record of journalistic excellence - and commercial competence - over the past forty years and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure that its reputation for editorial integrity and for business accomplishment is sustained and enhanced in the years ahead".
The Nation Media Group will continue to be independently managed, reporting directly to its own Board of Directors. That Board, in turn, will continue to be elected by all of the company's shareholders, the majority of whom are Kenyan residents.
The changes were communicated on 11 June in a statement signed by the Chairman of the Nation Media Group, Mr Hannington Awori.
© 2003 The Monitor Publications