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Uchumi shareholders to reap profit

NAIROBI November 28 – Uchumi shareholders who took up the supermarket’s debenture offer will earn their first interest before the end of December.

Uchumi’s Receiver Manager Jonathan Ciano says he will soon contact the shareholders through mail and the media to inform them about the process.

“I cannot give you the exact date that this will happen but I just want you to be aware that this process will be taking place soon,” Mr Ciano said.

The retail chain had intended to raise extra capital from its shareholders through a debenture issue at the height of its financial problems but only managed to raise Sh30 million as opposed to the Sh300 million it had targeted.

But despite the hiccup, the supermarket chain has kept the business running and even managed to announce a profit for the first time in seven years, two months ago.

Mr Ciano attributed the growth to increased sales and redefined business objectives, together with operational efficiency.

Speaking during the launch of a charity event to assist children’s homes from sale proceeds collected during the festive season, Mr Ciano also revealed that Uchumi had cleared a third of its loan.

“Every month we are comfortably paying at least Sh30million to our debtors in relation to the PTA/KCB bank loan which was Sh900 million when we took over,” he said.

And on the equity strategic investor, Mr Ciano insisted that the chain was in no hurry to acquire one, despite not meeting the deadline earlier targeted for early this month.

“Our stores are doing very well.  We are growing at between 28 and 30 percent every month compared to last year,” Mr Ciano said.

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He said the advisory committee was still assessing applicants for the undertaking and although it has taken a while, the chain was taking its time.

“This is the last step before we go back to the Stock Exchange (to re-list) and it has to be done carefully and in no particular hurry because we are not complaining financially.  We are ok,” he emphasised.

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