Bamburi changes leaders as profit drops

A section of Bamburi cement factory in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Bamburi Cement has announced five board changes including the chief executive and chief finance officer (CFO) as its net profit plunged to levels last seen 32 years ago.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm has announced that its CFO Vasileios Karalis is going to exit Bamburi at the end of May while Secretary Waeni Ngea will be leaving in June, adding to the exits of the CEO and two non-executive directors.

The five changes marked a major overhaul at the 11-member board, coming on the back of net profit for the financial year ended December 2022 dropping by 86.9 percent to Sh181 million on the back of reduced sales and increased costs.

The Sh181 million profit was a drop from the Sh1.38 billion posted in the previous year and is the lowest net earnings for Bamburi in 32 years.

The firm had in 1991 posted £6.45 million —an equivalent of Sh128.9 million using the then exchange rate of Sh20 per £1.

Bamburi on April 1 received Mohit Kapoor as the new CEO following the exit of Seddiq Hassani after five years at the helm.

Mr Hassani had grown net profits from Sh572 million in 2018 to Sh1.38 billion in 2021 before the sharp decline last year.

The firm will be counting on new leaders to lift the performance amid inflation pressure that has hit demand for cement and the increased costs of power, fuel, transport and raw materials due to the weak shilling and supply chain disruptions.

Bamburi board has eight non-executive directors, according to its board charter.

Five of the directors are independent non-executive directors while three are non-independent non-executive directors. Three are executive directors.

Mr Karalis will be leaving the firm for a new role within Holcim Group — the parent company of Bamburi— after having served as a CFO for the Kenyan unit since February 2022.

He took over from Grace Oluoch who had served as CFO for three years.

Mr Karalis will be replaced by Eugene Antera who is currently serving as the operations controller.

The exit of CEO and CFO within a space of two months bucks the trend at the NSE where the finance chiefs usually stay on to play a key role in managing transitions at the corner office.

Mr Hassani’s exit at the end of March was alongside that of two non-executive directors John Stull and Guillaume Dubreuil who resigned.

Mr Stull, who had been the Holcim area manager for sub-Sahara resigned as a director after opting to retire from the Holcim Group.

He was replaced by Rajesh Surana, who also took over as the new Holcim area manager for East and South Africa.

Mr Dubreuil, another non-executive director that has been serving as the chief finance officer for Asia, Middle East and Africa, was replaced with Sonal Shrivastava.

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