Troubled Uchumi postpones AGM

Uchumi Group shareholders during the AGM held on January 20, 2016. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG
Uchumi Group shareholders during the AGM held on January 20, 2016. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG 

Uchumi Supermarkets #ticker:UCHM has postponed its Annual General Meeting (AGM) by more than three months to allow for conclusion of negotiations with a potential investor, the retailer announced on Wednesday.

The publicly traded firm says the meeting, scheduled for December 20, has been pushed back to a date likely to be before March 31, 2018.

The coming on board of a new investor has to be ratified by shareholders and the loss-making retailer appears keen to have this done at the AGM.

“Once the negotiations are concluded, a new date for the Annual General Meeting will be agreed and a formal notice and agenda will be published within the statutory notice period,” company secretary Enid Muriuki said in a statement on behalf of the board.

Capital injection

Uchumi had in August exuded confidence in clinching a deal with an undisclosed strategic investor who is expected to inject at least Sh3.5 billion into the company for an equity stake.

“The transaction process will come to a conclusion within the stipulated time or less, marking the last mile of Uchumi’s recovery,” former chief executive Julius Kipng’etich had said.

The troubled retailer’s turnaround strategy, however, appeared to have suffered a setback after Dr Kipng’etich, who left his role as chief operating officer at Equity Bank in August 2015 to lead recovery efforts, threw in the towel on December 9.

The board has appointed chief financial officer, Mr Mohamed Ahmed Mohamed, as acting CEO.

Dr Kipng’etich, whose first two-year contract expired in October, had managed to narrow the retailer’s full-year net loss for the period ended June to Sh1.7 billion from Sh2.8 billion a year earlier, largely on cost-cutting measures.