Uchumi postpones AGM as investor talks heat up

Uchumi Supermarkets has intensified negotiations with a strategic investor as it rushes to conclude a deal that could raise as much as Sh3.5 billion to finance its restructuring plan.

The negotiation has seen Uchumi postpone its annual general meeting (AGM) scheduled for December 20 with plans hold it before March 31, 2018.

The investor negations have been ongoing for over four months, with Uchumi looking to sell a stake of the business to raise the much needed capital.

“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,” Uchumi said in a notice to shareholders.

In an interview with Citizen Digital, Uchumi Supermarkets chief operating officer Andrew Dixon exuded confidence the deal would be secured by the end of January.

“One particular party is very interested and they progressing through the process of due diligence. It’s now all down to the due diligence and that process will take roughly 60 days, so we are looking to the new year for the results of that process,” Mr Dixon said.

Uchumi had initially indicated it would require as much as Sh5 billion from a strategic investor.

The negotiations come even as Uchumi chief executive officer Julius Kipng’etich resigned from the retailer last week raising concern over the future of the ailing retailer.

Under his watch, Uchumi managed to cut its full year loss to Sh1.7 billion through aggressive cost cutting.

Uchumi has already received a shot in the arm after the government last week approved the release of Sh700 million to aid the retailer restock its stores ahead of the festive season.

Uchumi on Wednesday announced its stores in Nairobi would remain shut for a day to facilitate the restocking process.

“Over the next few days we will be restocking our shelves across our stores so these empty shelves will be full and we will be inviting our customers back to the excitement and delight of shopping at Uchumi,” Mr Dixon said.


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