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Kabras sugar extends market lead

West Kenya Sugar Company
Tractors delivering sugar cane to West Kenya Sugar Company in Kakamega County. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kabras-based West Kenya Sugar Company has extended its market share to nearly a third of total sugar sales in the year to October.

The Sugar Directorate indicates the company has grown its market share from 29 percent in the 10 months of last year to 30 percent in the corresponding period in 2019.

The makers of the Kabras brand saw its total sales shoot to 105,874 tonnes between January and October, against 91,522 in similar period last year.

The miller widened the gap further with its rival Butali Sugar that has now dropped to fourth with 43,384 tonnes after being overtaken by Transmara (60,141) and Sukari (49,346) factories.

Private millers led the pack of the highest performers. with the former leader Mumias Sugar Company, remaining shut for a year now.

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Mumias, majority-owned by the Government and for a long time Kenya’s largest miller, did not produce a single tonne in the review period.

In the corresponding period last year, the miller only managed to process a paltry 4,768 tonnes. Ageing plant and lack of raw material continue to pull down the Nairobi bourse-listed firm.

State-owned Nzoia Sugar Company was the best among the five government millers, with production of 12,582 tonnes followed by South Nyanza Sugar Company (10,086 tonnes), Muhoroni (8,020 tonnes) and Chemelil (2,863 tonnes).

Most of the State-owned companies have been performing dismally due to lack of sufficient capital, ageing machinery, mismanagement and political interference.

On the other hand, the private millers have installed new machines that are producing optimally and efficiently and enjoy financial muscle.

The government is selling millers Sony, Chemelil, Nzoia, Muhoroni and Miwani to strategic investors in order to allow for the injection of new capital and stem loss making.

The five State-owned millers are steeped in debt amounting to Sh100 billion mainly attributed to mismanagement.

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