Steel billionaire Narendra Raval has withdrawn his bid in leasing ailing Mumias Sugar Company, dealing a blow to the revival of the miller that has not been in production for over two years.
Mr Raval, who was planning to inject Sh5 billion to modernise the once giant miller after winning the bid, cited political interests after western Kenya politicians questioned the process.
The Devki Group chairman said his decision was made to protect his business name and reputation from being muddied in politics.
“I have withdrawn my interest to invest in Mumias through a leasing plan because of the political interests that have emerged. I have officially informed KCB of my withdrawal,” said Mr Raval told Business Daily in an interview.
The miller was in September 2019 placed under receivership by KCB Group #ticker:KCB to protect its assets and maintain its operations.
Politicians from western Kenya have raised issues over the process of leasing out the firm, questioning the procedure that was used.
Eight firms participated in the leasing tender and Mr Raval was the front-runner on the strength of his financial muscle and track record of running industries, people with knowledge of leasing details said.
His withdrawal now sends KCB back to the drawing board.
“I was told that I am the winner, but it is unfortunate that I will not continue with the plans to invest at Mumias because of the new political twist that has questioned the process of selection,” he told Business Daily.
“Given the ongoing public interest which the matter has attracted and the call for a publicly run bidding exercise, we have found it worthwhile to take out our application. We will however express interest should the exercise be conducted in consultation with all the stakeholders," the Devki founder said in a statement on Friday morning.