Squatters get three years to buy Portland Cement landWednesday September 14 2022
East Africa Portland Cement (EAPC) has revised its terms for settling dozens of squatters on its 709 acres in Athi-River weeks after the first public forum to kick-start the land regularisation.
The revised terms follow negotiations between the listed cement maker and the squatters, with the company now settling on a flexible three years payment plan as opposed to one year.
A plot measuring 40 by 80 feet will be sold at Sh600,000, meaning that the company can raise up to Sh5 billion should it sell the entire piece, although this is likely to be lower due to provisions for infrastructure such as access roads.
The buyers have been issued with three-month notices to put down their deposits for their land. At the lapse of the notice period, unregistered pieces of land will be sold to the general public through open bidding.
It has also been agreed that the initial Sh100,000 administrative fee (payable in installments within a three months period) that was to be paid as registration fee will count on the cumulative amount due from the squatters. EAPC said it has reviewed the sale terms to enable vulnerable squatters to afford the land.
"The title deeds of all plots are ready bearing EAPC name. The agreement will between an individual and the company,” said EAPC Gordon head of corporate affairs and strategy Mutugi.
The squatters, who settled on the land in 2010 after the company advertised its intention to sell up after exhausting limestone deposits, lauded the move saying they have suffered for over a decade and incurred losses through forceful evictions.
EAPC is selling the land to raise funds to pay down outstanding debt and to bridge a working capital deficitas part of its balance sheet restructuring programme.
The company narrowed its loss to Sh907 million in the six months to December 2021 from Sh1 billion a year earlier, on reduced administrative and selling costs.
The lower losses were despite revenue falling to Sh967.6 million from Sh1.3 billion, underlining the impact of the lower costs.
The company last year sent its staff home and hired new ones on contract basis, and cut its cost of sales to Sh1.3 billion from Sh1.7 billion.
Its finance costs also dropped to Sh101.2 million from Sh269.4 million, pointing to reduced borrowings or renegotiation of debt terms.