According to a statement by Shia Ithna Ashri Jamaat secretariat, Merali, died on Saturday morning at around 5am, while undergoing treatment at the Nairobi Hospital.
The businessman was born on January 2, 1951, in Nairobi.
“We are very sad to hear of the passing on of Naushad Merali this morning. Our thoughts are with Sameer Merali and the rest of the Family. May he rest in peace,” Group Chief Technology Innovation Officer, Liquid Intelligent Technologies Kenya said
70 year old Merali was the founder of the Kenyan mobile service provider Kencell (Airtel) and also Sameer Group, a business conglomerate active in agriculture, construction, information technology, property and finance. He was also the former Chairman and largest individual shareholder of Bharti Airtel’s operations in Kenya.
He is best known for owning three of Kenya’s major companies: Sasini Limited, battery manufacturer Eveready East Africa, and Sameer Africa.
As a philanthropist, the deceased has aided hospitals and needy schools through his NGO, Zarina and Naushad Merali Foundation.
The deceased was a close friend of President Uhuru Kenyatta and the first family.
Amani Party leader Hon Musalia Mudavadi described the businessman Merali as a distinguished international entrepreneur, industrialist, and philanthropist.
As of November 2015, Merali had a net worth of at least $370 million (Sh37 billion), Forbes Africa Richest estimated, placing him at Number 48 on the list of Africa’s 50 wealthiest people.
Here in Kenya, he was ranked the third-richest person, behind Bidco Africa Limited founder, Bhimji Depar Shah (first), who had a net worth of $700 million (Sh7 billion). Bhimji’s son, Vimal Shah, serves as the company’s CEO.
Shah, who ranked 31st in Africa, was followed by Narendra Raval of Devki Group, the largest manufacturer of steel products in East and Central Africa. Raval, as of November 2015, had a net worth of $400 million (Sh40 billion). Raval’s cement division of the business, National Cement Company, manufactures Kenya’s bestselling Simba cement.
The businessman will be buried today, July 3. He leaves behind his widow, Zarin Merali and children.