Moi University-owned Rivatex invests Sh400m in expansion bid

Workers at Rivatex East Africa Ltd in Eldoret,
Workers at Rivatex East Africa Ltd in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County, during a function to receive machines from India. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG 

Eldoret-based Rift Valley Textile Mills (Rivatex) East Africa has pumped Sh400 million into the upgrade of its key departments.

Officials said the cash injection is part of efforts to jumpstart the firm’s operations and expand productivity.

Already, Eldoret based Shiv Construction Company Limited is finalising the renovation of spinning and weaving mill after it received Sh3 billion grant from the Indian government to facilitate technology transfer and purchase new machines.

“We have fixed boilers and installed more containers in the ongoing upgrading exercise that is expected to be complete before the end of the year,” said Dilip Suthar, director Shiv Company.

He disclosed that heavy rains had delayed the upgrade of the administration block and infrastructure in the factory after the groundbreaking mid last year.

Mr Suthar said the upgrade would create 10,000 new jobs due to increased production to meet the demand by local and foreign markets.

“Major construction works are almost complete and we plan to hand over the project by February next year,” said Mr Suthar.

Rivatex managing Thomas Kipkurgat said the company had partnered with the Bura Irrigation Scheme to increase the supply of raw materials for the smooth operations.

“We are currently producing an average of 10,000 bales against a capacity of 70,000 bales annually, which has impacted negatively on our operational costs,” said Prof Kipkurgat. Moi University bought the textile firm for Sh205 million more than 10 years ago. The company was placed under receivership in 2000 in the wake of mismanagement.

In the new revival deal, India-based Lakshmi Machine Works Limited will supply the factory textile machines.

Indian High Commissioner to Kenya Suchitra Durai said the Sh3 billion would enable Rivatex to expand its production. The financial support follows a visit by the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in July last year that resulted in the Treasury signing a funding agreement with the EXIM Bank of India.

“The modernisation of Rivatex is expected to revive the textile sector and cotton industry in Kenya and generate employment in the region,” said the company in a statement.

Lakshmi Machine Works managing director Sanjay Jayavarthanavelu urged review of Moi University School of Engineering curriculum to suit the needs of modern industry.

“There is a need to examine the possibilities of supplying some latest machinery to the labs of the School of Engineering and help in skills development and capacity building,” he said.