Companies

Troubled Phoenix Publishers now placed under administration

Books3101A

A Phoenix Publishers warehouse in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

alushula

Summary

  • Phoenix Publishers has been placed under administration in a move aimed at giving the struggling firm a lifeline to recover by keeping away creditors from attaching its property.
  • The management of the publisher has been taken over by Owen Koimburi who is the managing partner at Mazars Kenya— an audit and advisory firm previously called Koka Koimburi & Company.
  • The administration took effect on June 25 and will run for 12 months, effectively barring creditors of Phoenix from liquidating it to recover their money.

Phoenix Publishers has been placed under administration in a move aimed at giving the struggling firm a lifeline to recover by keeping away creditors from attaching its property.

The management of the publisher has been taken over by Owen Koimburi who is the managing partner at Mazars Kenya— an audit and advisory firm previously called Koka Koimburi & Company.

The administration took effect on June 25 and will run for 12 months, effectively barring creditors of Phoenix from liquidating it to recover their money.

Phoenix was founded in 1988 and specialises in publishing textbooks and creative works, with a bias for children and teenage fiction.

The firm has over 200 titles—both in English and Kiswahili—such as Beautiful Nyakio by Frederick Ndung’u, Unmarked Grave by P Mureithi, Mgomba Changaraweni by Ken Walibora and Dira ya Kiswahili by Wafula wa Wafula.

Phoenix’s slip into administration comes at a time Kenya’s publishers are struggling to recover from a sharp drop in educational books after months of school closure due to Covid-19.

The coronavirus disruption found a sector that was already reeling under the weight of e-books, a fledgling readership culture, piracy as well as regulatory hurdles.

The administration means authors, many who say have not received their royalties from Phoenix for at least a year, will have to wait longer to benefit from their published work.

Mr Koimburi has now written to all creditors, including authors whose work was published by Phoenix, informing them of the development.

“A notification of my appointment was duly lodged in the High Court at Nairobi Milimani Commercial Law Courts on 25 June 2021. Kindly accord me and my team the necessary support and cooperation,” said Mr Koimburi in a letter to creditors.

The picking of an administrator is in line with the Insolvency Act of 2015 which gives companies going through financial turmoil an opportunity to put their act together, including settlement of debts.