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Chandaria joins suit to wind up Nakumatt with Sh353m demand

Nakumatt managing director Atul Shah. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Nakumatt managing director Atul Shah. FILE PHOTO | NMG  

Consumer goods manufacturer, Chandaria Industries, has joined the list of creditors demanding liquidation of Nakumatt with the filing of an application to be part of the insolvency petition against the retailer to recover a Sh353 million debt.

The firm, founded by billionaire businessman Mahesh Chandaria, has sought to join African Cotton Industries’ petition seeking Nakumatt’s liquidation.  

“Take notice that Chandaria Industries Limited, a creditor of Sh353,801,207.98 of Nakumatt Holdings Limited, the respondent debtor herein, intends to appear at the hearing of the petition, and to support such petition,” the firm said in a notice filed in court on September 18.

It, however, has not listed particulars of the debt, leaving unknown the history of its Sh353 million claim and whether the amount cuts across all countries where Nakumatt is present.

Chandaria is among 90 creditors, who have so far joined the petition seeking to recover over Sh4.1 billion from the struggling retailer.

Nakumatt has most recently been in talks with rival Tuskys over a possible buyout.

The retailer in a meeting with creditors on October 13 revealed that its total debt to creditors is currently between Sh30 billion and Sh40 billion, but that its business is still capable of a turnaround.

Chandaria Industries manufactures various hygiene products such as tissues, but also has interests in other industries.

The company owns an undisclosed stake in low-cost car manufacturer Mobius.

Other creditors who have since emerged include Samsutech Electronics (Sh232 million), Basco Paints (Sh8.5 million), Isinya Feeds Limited (Sh18 million), Manji Food Industries (Sh45.6 million), Kenchic Limited (Sh26 million), L’Oreal East Africa (Sh22 million).

Others are Bobmil Industries, whose owner Bunty Shah was shot dead in a police raid on his home last Sunday (Sh195 million), and Slater & Whittaker (Sh83.9 million).

The insolvency petition against Nakumatt was filed by another hygiene products manufacturer, Africa Cotton Industries, which is seeking payment of a Sh23 million debt from the retailer.

Nakumatt in the meeting with creditors clarified that it will also prioritise payment of debts to firms that did not join the insolvency petition.

Documents in court show that two other insolvency petitions had been filed by tea processor Gold Crown Beverages and Prestige Mall owners Primrose Management Limited.

The two petitions have since been stood over to allow Africa Cotton Industries’ suit, which was the first to be filed, to proceed. Nakumatt in its meeting with creditors maintained that most firms it owes money are in support of the move to have Tuskys buy a stake in the struggling retailer before strategising on payment of debts.

Tuskys, however, is facing internal hurdles of its own as regards the planned 51 per cent stake purchase deal, as one of its shareholders, Yusuf Mugweru, has opposed the proposed deal that is yet to get regulatory approval from the Competition Authority of Kenya.

The retail chain added that its major bankers—KCB #ticker:KCB, Standard Chartered #ticker:SCBK, Diamond Trust Bank #ticker:DTK and Bank of Africa—have agreed to stay calm and give Nakumatt time to get back on its feet before recalling several loan facilities granted to it.

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