By Kenneth Kwama and Morris Aron
The Standard has reliably learnt that the employees, acting through Nairobi law firm — Rachier and Amollo advocates, will this morning file a motion seeking to stop the process. This move could potentially stop the biggest corporate acquisition in the country’s history.
The deal is reportedly worth $500 million (Sh42 billion) and could stall should the Industrial Court decide issues raised by employees form sufficient grounds to stop the bid.
This will happen even as it emerged that the company could have technically changed hands last Wednesday when top executives from Puma jetted into the country in a private jet to conclude the deal.
Puma and KenolKobil appear to have sidestepped a commitment made before the Industrial Court, in which the employees allege KenolKobil undertook to have concerns over job security and employee benefits addressed by Friday this week, before the take-over is finalised.
“We understand that the company has technically changed hands, while our issues as to how we will be relating to the new company have not been addressed,” said an employee who asked not to be named for fear of victimisation.
Terms and conditions
“There is concern that employees may be sent home without their benefits or employed under different terms and conditions.”
While admitting that a group from Puma had indeed jetted into the country last week, the company’s Chairman and Group MD Jacob Segman said this should not be seen as untoward.
“They have been visiting regularly for the last six weeks. A lot has happened and due diligence, which has been going on for some time now, will be completed next week,” said Segman in a telephone interview with The Standard last Saturday.
A source from the company, who also declined to be named, said its employees were shocked to learn that the take-over bid is ‘technically done’, even while the grievances have not been addressed.