Rea Vipingo is a company that operates sisal plantations in Kenya and Tanzania. The company's headquarters are located in Nairobi. Its stock is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
The origins of the group date from around the turn of the last century when the predecessors of the Albers group, the original owners of the Amboni business in Tanzania, established sisal estates in the Tanga region of what was then, the German territory of Tanganyika.
The Albers group also purchased the Vipingo estate in Kenya in 1939 and, together with their Tanzanian interests were, by the early 1970s, the leading sisal producer in East Africa. Following the adoption of socialist policies in Tanzania in the late 1960s, the Amboni business went through some lean times and in 1995 an agreement was reached with the REA group to amalgamate the East African sisal interests of the two groups.
The REA group had purchased in 1993 the Dwa estate from a subsidiary of the Unilever group. Sisal was first planted on the Dwa estate in 1915 and, although not fully developed, the estate held potential which is now being realized.
The company, REA Vipingo Plantations Limited, was incorporated in Kenya on 1st February 1995 for the purpose of amalgamating and developing the principal East African sisal interest of the Albers and REA groups under the ownership of a single company. The company was subsequently listed in 1996 on the Nairobi Stock Exchange and, as now constituted, comprises the company, which owns the Vipingo estate and five subsidiaries, Dwa Estate Limited, the company that owns Dwa estate, Amboni Plantations Limited, the company which owns the Mwera, Sakura and Kigombe estates in Tanzania, Amboni Spinning Mill Limited which owns the Tanzanian sisal spinning mill, Wigglesworth Exporters Limited, a warehousing and shipping operation in Mombasa, Kenya, and Vipingo Estate Limited.
The Albers group no longer have any interest in the company. The controlling interest is today held by the Robinow family, who have a number of business interests in the United Kingdom as well as holding a controlling interest in REA Holdings PLC, a UK listed company with major oil palm plantation interests in Indonesia. Over 43% of the shares in the company are held by Kenyan, and other investors, through the Nairobi Stock Exchange.
Since listing on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE) in 1996, the company has developed rapidly from an annual sisal fibre production of 11,000 tonnes to over 19,000 tonnes today. Turnover has increased from Kshs. 537million In 1996 to Kshs. 2.57 billion today.
The group does all its own export shipping through dedicated and professionally managed export operations in the port cities of Mombasa, Kenya and Tanga, Tanzania. In both locations the group has its own warehouse and office facilities.