Have you ever wondered about what the richest and most influential companies in the Ugandan market might be?
You are in luck! We have listed the top 15 wealthiest brands in Uganda based on available data combined from their investment, tax returns, size and revenue.
1. MTN Uganda Limited
MTN is a South African telecom company that entered Uganda in 1998 taking on the market by storm from Celtel and UTL. MTN Uganda had 11,578,207 mobile subscribers by the end of 2017 and 1,637 base stations.
MTN Uganda makes close to UGX 1.3 trillion and is Uganda’s highest tax payer with collections valued at Shs 458,706,552,944.
2. Nile Breweries Ltd
Nile Breweries Ltd is the largest brewing company in Uganda with 59% market share of the locally produced beer totaling more than 2.45 million hectoliters of beer at both its plants in Jinja and Mbarara.
Nile Breweries is owned by SABMiller who bought it from the Madhvani fellow before they later merged with ABInBev. It has invested more than $200 million in Uganda over the last 5 years.
South African based companies seem to be the kings in our economy as we have Nile Breweries coming in at second with Shs 197, 934,390,207 in tax revenue.
3. Airtel Uganda Limited
Airtel Uganda has beaten a lot of odds to get to the top, from purchasing the struggling telecom franchise Zain which had bought the ailing Celtel (first telecom company in Uganda in 1995) in 2010 to buying Warid telecom in 2013 which made it the second largest telecom company in Uganda with 7.2 million subscribers, 44% of the Ugandan cellphone users.
The company is owned by the Indian parent company, Bharti Airtel paying Shs 155,141,126,696 in taxes. This India based company could one day take out MTN if it continues to grow this fast.
4. Uganda Breweries Ltd
Uganda Breweries is a subsidiary of East African Breweries Ltd (EABL) which owns 98.2% of shares in the company and is headquartered in Kenya which is also owned by the might British company, Diageo Plc which makes Guiness. UBL has been around since 1946 and was formally state owned.
UBL makes or distributes Waragi, Bell Lager, Tusker, Johnnie Walker, Gilbeys, VAT 69, Bond 7 and so much. With brands like this, it is not hard to put together how they made it to the fourth spot with Shs 131,009,038,978 in tax revenue.
If you expected it to beat Nile Breweries, you were wrong. It seems nothing beats a Nile Special! However, you can see that Ugandans are serious about their “drink.”
5. Stanbic Bank
In 2017, Stanbic was the largest commercial bank in Uganda by assets worth more than UGX 5.4 trillion ($1.46 billion) and made more than UGX 200 billion ($54.8 million) in revenue. It bought and later merged with Uganda Commercial Bank in 2002.
Stanbic Bank is owned by Stanbic Africa, which is a subsidy of Standard Bank Group, a South African company and one of the largest banks in Africa. In Uganda, the bank was the National Bank of India in 1906 and after going through several names it became Grindlays Bank that was later bought and renamed by Standard Bank.
Stanbic Bank might have the highest number of public shareholders after the Ugandan government offered most of its shares on the Uganda Stock Exchange (USE) in 2005. They are leaders in banking innovation such as mobile banking and have the second largest network of banking ATMs in the country, no wonder they paid a whooping Shs 102,380,424,743 in tax.
6. Tororo Cement Ltd
Tororo Cement is the largest manufacturer of cement in Uganda and as of March, 2018 it will start producing more than 3 million tonnes of cement annually after investing more than UGX 86 billion in expansion with more than 8,000 employees.
The company is one of the largest manufacturers of construction materials in East Africa. It was established in 1952 by the British as Uganda Cement Industries under the Uganda Development Corporation before being sold off and rebranded later.
Tororo Cement Limited’s tax value is at Shs 82,252,203,594.
7. Century Bottling Co. Ltd
Century Bottling Company is owned by CocaCola Sabco (South African Bottling Company) since 1995 and has a bottling facility in Mbarara (1998) and in Namanve, Mukono (2001) and has set numerous standards for bottling procedures in Uganda.
The company is the authorized bottler and distributor of CocaCola products in Uganda such as Coke, Coke Zero, Fanta, Sprite, Novida, Minute Maid, Dasani water, Tonic water, Schweppes and in recent developments, Rwenzori mineral water.
These helped the company be able to wreck in Shs 78,879,404,573 in tax.
8. Bujagali Energy Limited
Bujagali Energy Limited is owned by Bujagali Holding Power Company Limited which is made up of Industrial Promotion Services Limited (IPS) in Kenya part of the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), Sithe Global (SG) Power LLC from the USA and the Ugandan Government.
Bujagali Energy limited was started in 2004. It operates and owns Bujagali Power Station, the largest hydropower plants in the country which has been credited with creating more than 200,000 jobs around the country and generating more than 90% of all the electricity.
BEL has a tax value of Shs 74,975,273,650.
9. Kakira Sugar Limited
Kakira Sugar Works Limited is Uganda’s largest sugar producer owned by Madhvani Group started in 1930 with more than 7,500 employees producing more than 165,000 tonnes of sugar per year which is 47% of all the sugar in Uganda.
The sugar is also sold to South Sudan, DRC, Rwanda, Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya. The company has greatly contributed to Kakira, the area where it is located by building facilities such as schools, hospitals, offering scholarships and so much more.
Its taxes come in at Shs 70,620,565,962.
10. Umeme Limited
Umeme Limited (established in 2004) is owned by Globeleq (44%), a subsidy of the Commonwealth Development Corporation in the UK and the other shares are owned by the public with the largest public shareholders being institutions like NSSF with 23.20% and others.
Umeme was estimated to own assets worth UGX 1.775 trillion and shares worth UGX 503.8 billion while earning more than UGX 105.9 billion ($30.9 million) in 2015. Umeme has more than 1,400 employees and is the largest energy distributor in Uganda at more than 97% of all Uganda’s electricity.
That is why it was able to come in at No. 10 with taxes worth Shs 66,307,152,305.
11. Kinyara Sugar Limited
Kinyara Sugar Works Limited was founded in 1969 in Masindi by then Omukama of Bunyoro Tito Owiny who sold sugar to Northern Uganda in partnership with the government until kingdoms were abolished in 1966. It was later rejuvenated by Booker Tate Ltd which later sold its shares to Rai Group.
Currently the company is owned by Rai Group Mauritius (70%) and Uganda Government (30%). Kinyara Sugar Works is the second largest manufacturer of sugar in Uganda, producing 31% of all sugar estimated at 110,000 metric tonnes annually.
The company also generates 33MWs of electricity with the potential of selling 22MWs to the nation.
It has a tax pay out of Shs 62,498,406,168.
12. Centenary Rural Development Bank Limited
Centenary Bank started as a credit trust by the Catholic Church in Uganda in 1983 to serve the rural poor and develop the country before becoming a commercial bank in 1993.
Centenary is one of the largest banks in Uganda with assets worth UGX 1.974 billion, revenue of UGX 101.6 billion and 2,211 employees in 2015. It is under the leadership of Prof. John Ddumba Ssentamu as Chairman of the board and Fabian Kasi as the Managing Director.
With 69 bank branches, 172 ATMs, mobile banking and 1.4 million customers all over the country – it is no shock they were able to pay Shs 61,003,838,681 in taxes.
13. Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited
SCOUL (Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited) was started in 1924 and is owned by Mehta Group (49%) and the Ugandan Government (51%) with more than 7,000 employees.
The company is the third largest manufacturer of sugar in Uganda with a production of around 100,000 tonnes per year which is 17% of all the sugar produced in Uganda.
Mehta Group is based in Mumbai, India with a lot of business in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America employing more than 10,000 people. SCOUL has a tax value of Shs 57,277,705,804.
14. Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Limited
Standard Chartered Bank (StanChart) opened its doors in Uganda in 1912 making it the oldest bank in the country and it acquired Cooperative Bank in 1999 expanding its operations. It is a subsidy of Standard Chartered Bank Group based in London, UK.
The bank has 13 branches, 32 ATMs and 600 employees all over the country. They are leaders in innovation since they introduced the following notable things in Uganda; the first ATM, VISA ATM network and VISA Electron debit cards.
It is one of the most silent banks in the country yet its assets are worth UGX 2.68 trillion making it the second largest commercial bank in Uganda by asset value with UGX 28 billion in revenue and 600 employees as of 2015.
StanChart’s mission is to bank people and companies that drive trade, investment and wealth creation in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. With such a clientele, it comes as no surprise that its tax value is at Shs 56,387,929,935.
15. Hima Cement Ltd
Hima Cement Limited (HCL) was formed in 1994 in Kasese after the privatization of Uganda Cement Industries. It was acquired by Bamburi Cement Limited from Kenya and the parent owner of Bamburi, Lafarge from France.
Hima Cement invested more than $40 million to build a cement factory along the Tororo – Soroti road by 2018 and raise production from the current 850,000 tonnes per year to 1.9 million tonnes.
The manufacturer supplies more than 30,000 tonnes of cement for the expansion of Entebbe International Airport, the same number for the construction of the Tororo – Mbale – Soroti road and many more.
It comes in to close the list at Shs 54,440,445,780 in tax returns.
Note: The tax returns data used is based on tax payer collections made by the Uganda Revenue Authority for the 2016/17 financial year.
Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project.
He is a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.