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Portland Cement in fresh round of employee layoffs

Stephen Nthei
EAPCC acting managing director Stephen Nthei. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

East African Portland Cement Company (EAPCC) #ticker:PORT has announced further job cuts through a voluntary retirement scheme that targets all employees in the wake of Covid-19 related hardships.

Acting managing director Stephen Nthei said Thursday the early retirement scheme is open to all workers with applications expected between Thursday and June 15, 2020.

He added that the move is intended to keep the loss-making cement maker afloat as it grapples with declining production and revenues.

The move comes barely four months after EAPCC terminated contracts of an estimated 150 employees in administrative roles as the firm eyed to cut its work-force by a quarter from 800.

“We remain focused on managing our cost base and affirm that the restructuring will not have any negative impact on the services and products we offer,” said Mr Nthei Thursday in a statement.

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The cash-strapped firm has been shedding jobs over the years as performance waned. At the close of June 2017, it had 1,265 employees.

EAPCC in its half-year report for the period ended December last year disclosed that it spent Sh281.9 million to pay off the sacked employees.

Mr Nthei, however, said the sacked staff were eligible to apply for the merged jobs but on a 40 percent salary cut from their previous pay.

The firm had declared intentions to dismiss the junior staff upon the sale of its two parcels of land comprising 2,000 acres as it eyed reducing its staff count from 800 employees.

EAPCC’s net loss widened to Sh1.5 billion in the six months to last December from Sh1.2 billion in a similar period in 2018.

The cement maker’s staff costs stood at Sh4 billion last year, meaning that employee expenses consumed 80 percent of its sales.

The cement maker’s sales have declined sharply over the years from Sh9 billion in the period ended June 2014 to Sh5 billion in 2018 in a period that has seen rivals eat into the company’s market share, which currently stands at 11 percent, down from about 30 percent a decade ago.

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