When the Bank of Uganda on Thursday October 20, 2016, took over the management of Crane Bank Limited, many naysayers, wrote off Sudhir Ruparelia and his family, and predicted doom for the tycoon.
Three years down the road, Sudhir and his family are improving Kampala’s skyline with bigger and better buildings, consolidating their grip as Uganda’s leading real estate owners and merchants, as well as other businesses.
What has helped Sudhir remain on top despite the Crane Bank setback is the art of diversification, and close supervision of all investments, and involving his now grown up children in the management of the business empire.
Today, we bring you the over 20 companies under the Ruparelia bag that have kept this group flying despite the turbulence that hit their then high-flying flashship brand, Crane Bank, which at the time of its closure was Uganda’s number two financial service facility. Sudhir has divested in various sectors over the years in banking, insurance, hospitality, conventions and leisure centres, education, real estate and floriculture. Most of these companies are leading players in their respective areas.
1. PROPERTY DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT
Crane Management and Meera Investments, are two companies that have made Sudhir and his family Uganda’s largest private property owners, managers and developers for commercial and private real estate. The companies invest in office buildings, retail centres, industrial facilities, residential units, development projects among others.
CRANE MANAGEMENT SERVICES which has been in existence since 1996 is a professional property management company which manages a large portfolio of properties within Kampala and in towns like Jinja, Mbale, Mbarara to name a few. It manages all kinds of properties from commercial, industrial, residential to office blocks.
“C.M.S. is responding to the need of professional management services in the real estate sector at a time when Uganda is experiencing spectacular development within the real estate management industry,” says the group’s website.
On the other hand, MEERA INVESTMENTS was established in 1994. Its niche is innovative ideas in real estate, particularly in property development and construction.
“Meera Investments LTD, embraces effective and efficient solutions in all aspects of property development from design to finish, to achieve maximum usage and productivity, which makes us the biggest landlord and the leading property developer.” Says the group’s website.
Ruparelia Group’s Gold Star Insurance Company is a significant player in the Ugandan insurance market. The Company began operations as early as 1996 when the Ugandan populace by choice did not insure their property and the regulatory body was still in its infancy. This however did not deter the company’s growth and development into a leading insurance company in the country.
3. HOSPITALITY, CONVENTIONS AND LEISURE
The Ruparelia Group runs some of Uganda’s largest and finest hotels and resorts serving both the luxury and budget market. The Group offers the ultimate in luxury accommodation, leisure facilities and the finest conference and business meeting venues in Uganda, along with related businesses including a rafting company.
All Ruparelia Group hotels and resorts are situated in the most strategic locations and offer an array of luxury services, intense hospitality, modern amenities and business facilities.
Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort is the front-runner in the Ruparelia Group Leisure and Hospitality business.
This leading 5-star resort is set on 90 acres in the Speke Resort complex, close to business, shopping and entertainment centres. The comfort and convenience offered by the Resort has attracted several high-profile visitors, from heads of state and foreign dignitaries to international celebrities.
Ruparelia Group’s Leisure and Hospitality business also features Kabira Country Club, an exquisite facility in Kampala that combines short and long-term residential accommodation and conference facilities with the most prestigious health, fitness and leisure complex in Uganda.
Tourist Hotel features a modest blend of all Ruparelia Group’s deluxe accommodation, conference and leisure facilities into an economically mindful package, with no compromise to service, convenience and comfort. The hotel is located in a busy business centre in Kampala and offers a choice of 70 comfortable rooms to the discerning businessperson and tourist at budget prices.
Speke Hotel, another in the Ruparelia Group line, is one of Kampala’s oldest hotels and offers all the charms of bygone days complimented by efficient, modern services and facilities. Speke Hotel is located in the heart of Kampala, close to banks and business centres. Dolphin Suites and Speke Apartments offer overnight accommodation and holiday apartments to travellers in Kampala for rent on a daily or monthly basis.
Others are: Forest Cottages in Bukoto and Speke Resort Bujagali Falls.
Ruparelia Group’s undertakings in education are substantially influential in Uganda’s education sector.
With schools at the elementary and high school level, all the way up to the local and international University level, the group has offered world-class education services in all disciplines to students of multiple nationalities and backgrounds. These include Kabira International School, Kampala Parents’ School and Victoria University.
88.2 SANYU FM
Sanyu FM is the pioneer private FM radio station in East and central Africa, broadcasting with a footprint of 100 KM radius around Kampala, on the frequency of 88.2 Mhz, and another 100KM footprint around Mbale, on the frequency of 96.4 Mhz.
The Station has over its 20-year existence maintained its position as a leading radio station in Uganda with its strength rooted from the unique, clearly differentiated mix of music, top-notch presenters and hourly news updates.
Ruparelia Group has had far-reaching success in the floriculture market in Uganda and the companies have made a name for themselves as front-runners in the industry. The farms not only excel in the production of a multitude of premium high-quality rose varieties but also in exports, commanding over 35% of the rose-export market in Uganda.
Premier Roses — located in Entebbe, Uganda —produces the highest quality of exclusive roses in the world while maintaining its status as top exporter of cut roses in the country.
Focused on meeting the high standards of Good Agricultural Produce (GAP), and placing great importance on economic, social and environmental sustainability, Premier Roses aims to achieve improved efficiency of natural resources and environmental conservation, reduced use of agrochemicals, and conservation of existing environmental habitats.
Based in Entebbe, Uganda, Rosebud Ltd is the country’s largest exporter of roses commanding around 35% of Uganda’s rose-export market.
Utilizing ultramodern equipment, the company’s highly skilled employees use their intimate knowledge and love for roses to produce at a mass scale with a watchful eye for the quality and delicacy of the crop.
The greenhouses cover a total of 42 hectares producing and exporting over 9 million stems per month.
7. PREMIER RECRUITMENT LIMITED
Premier Recruitment is located on the 1st Floor of Crane Chambers and is a recently incorporated company licensed for external recruitment. The agency is also part of UAERA.
Premier Recruitment has a commitment to helping decrease the high level of Ugandan unemployment by providing opportunities for Ugandans here in Uganda and abroad.
8. RUPARELIA FOUNDATION
You can say this is one SPEND project for the Group. One which gives back to the community. The Ruparelia Foundation works to improve and promote health, education, sports, general welfare, poverty eradication, improve livelihoods, support the welfare of wildlife and preservation of the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, corporations, with the government, non-governmental organisations and individuals.
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