Uchumi finally lands strategic investor

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Uchumi Supermarkets has finally landed a strategic investor who could pump in cash to help the struggling retailer plug a Sh5 billion debt the supermarket owes suppliers and financiers.

Speaking yesterday during a forum to facilitate prompt payment to retailers, Trade Principal Secretary Chris Kiptoo said the move will enable the supermarket chain pay suppliers who have been supporting it from possible collapse.

“In February, Uchumi pleaded with government to pump money into the retailer. When we intervened, the debt was Sh6.2 billion and people had even gone to court to wind it up.

Government approved Sh1.2 billion and Sh500 million has already been given to Uchumi,” said Kiptoo. “I am also told that the strategic investor is now on board,” he said without substantiating.

The retailer, who has been struggling with debt and management challenges, downsized and closed regional branches due to mismanagement and purported cooking of books of accounts by former managers.

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Last week, the retail chain was in the news again after employees stormed the headquarters protesting the delay of May and June salaries.

To stem the unrest, chief executive, Julius Kipng’etich, met with some of the workers representatives who had stormed the headquarters and signed a back- to-work agreement.

 

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