On Saturday, the family of Naushad Merali confirmed his passing away. He was the founder of the mobile phone operator Kencell, now known as Airtel, and Sameer Group. His burial will take place on Saturday itself.
As his death become public, many started to mourn his death online. Musalia Mudavadi, leader of the Amani National Congress political party gave his respects to Merali remembering him as a distinguished international entrepreneur, industrialist, and philanthropist. He was a great investor and industrialist who managed to build a strong empire jn terms of banking, agricultural, IT and infrastructural sectors.
Merali once attended Nairobi’s Highway Secondary School. In his earlier days, he started making his fortune by buying closing companies and then turning them into profitable enterprises as an investor. When he purchased telecom sector company Vivendi shares, he made a large sum of money amidst competition between South Africa’s MTN and Celtel to control Africa’s mobile phone market.
With the help of his friend, billionaire Mohammed Ibrahim who was a chairman in Celtel, he manages to exercise his pre-emptive rights and when he invested Sh18.4 billion, within the hour he made a profit of Sh1.6 billion.
In 2013, he shrank his shares to five percent and retired from his position while adding $150 million to his wealth. The Sameer group, named after his son, is however his most known company. In 1985, he bought the Firestone US stake in Firestone East Africa whilst renovating the tyre brand, Yana Tyres and made a fortune when the company was living off the Nairobi Stock (now Securities) Exchange.