Hope for Creditors as Uganda Public Auctions ‘Perishables’ of Fallen Retailer Uchumi

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The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) commenced public auction of perishable goods belonging to Kenya based retailer Uchumi to recover money owed to creditors.

The region’s budding retail giant closed operations in Uganda and Tanzania in October 2015 following a financial crisis. Uchumi in a statement said outlets in Uganda and Tanzania made up only 4.75 per cent of the entire business operations yet they accounted for over 25 per cent of our operating costs.

A Uganda High Court order granted the liquidator permitting authority to sell by public auction of all perishable goods of Uchumi Supermarkets Uganda Limited in liquidation including all stocks with a limited shelf life, URSB said in a statement.

A number of suppliers, employees and Landlords dragged the retailer to court in their bid to recover their arrears.

Meanwhile in Kenya, the supermarket announced on May 25, 2016 that has attracted “many suitors” in its search for a major new investor

The board said is evaluating bids from both local and foreign parties in Kenya in order to make an informed decision on the most suitable investor. The process is expected at the end of August.

“We have given ourselves the next three months up to August to conclude everything,” Julius Kipng’etich told Reuters.

Management has been battling to return to profit since it fired its previous CEO in June last year for “gross misconduct” and launched an audit into where cash from a rights issue had gone.

The company, which is the only publicly traded retailer in Kenya, is also selling assets to pay down debts and is seeking an emergency loan from the government, which holds a 15 percent stake.