Kenya Auctions Five Ailing State-owned Sugar Factories

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Kenya plans to begin privatizing five ailing state-owned sugar firms to boost the agricultural sector, officials said on Wednesday.

Jacqueline Muindi, acting CEO of the Privatization Commission, told journalists in Nairobi that the government plans to sell a 51 percent stake of South Nyanza Sugar Company, Chemelil, Miwani, Muhoroni, Nzoia sugar factories to strategic investors.

“The qualified firms will come in as strategic investors and bring in the much-needed financial, operational and technical expertise in order to revive the sugar industry,” Muindi said.

She said a strategic partner that has a majority shareholding has every incentive to ensure that they get a return on their investment and in so doing safeguard the interests of other shareholders, including farmers, employees and the government.

“We have… started reaching out to all the stakeholder parties and hope to conclude the engagement process by end of January 2018,” Muindi said.

She said prospective bidders must demonstrate that they have operated in the sugar industry for not less than 10 years and have managed profitable operations for at least five years.

Shortlisted pre-qualified firms will then be given time to undertake their own due diligence before they submit their bids.

According to a study by the Privatization Commission, 645 million U.S. dollars is required to rehabilitate and modernize the sugar factories.

Muindi noted that the commission plans to complete the respective transactions in the next seven to nine months.