Woes: Tough year as firms warn of profit slump

Bamburi Cement has become the seventh company to lose money in a tough year for firms operating in the Kenyan market.

The cement maker has issued a profit warning blaming it on high global energy prices, increasing power costs and setting aside money after some suppliers in Uganda defaulted on its debts.

“The company wishes to inform the shareholders and potential investors that, based on the preliminary assessment on the unaudited consolidated management accounts, the 2018 full-year earnings of the Group are expected to decrease by more than 25 per cent,” the firm said yesterday.

Housing Finance last Friday issued a profit warning as well as Sameer Africa blaming it on the tough year. Kenya Power also issued a profit warning and later posted a Sh1.9 billion net profit, a 74 per cent plunge from what the company reported last year.

Mumias Sugar whose brand has disappeared from retail outlets also issued a profit warning, having been unable to mobilise enough cane to the mill, with farmers abandoning the firm over unpaid supplies.

Sanlam Insurance lost money for a second straight year which it had lent to struggling firms. The company wrote off over Sh2.2 billion it had lent to Chase Bank, Imperial Bank, Athi River Mining, Real People and now Kaluworks.

The company said it would then focus on insurance business, not bonds - a move expected to take business from fund managers. “The business will be adopting a variety of remedial interventions,” Sanlam Kenya Group Chief Executive Patrick Tumbo said.

In May, Investment firm Centum, which is majorly owned by businessman Chris Kirubi also issued a profit warning for the year ending March. It said its real estate portfolio dipped this year, blaming it on sector woes and late closure for a deal to sell GenAfrica to Kuramo capital.

Uchumi Supermarkets has also not released results, having lost almost all its outlets over the inability to pay rent. It is facing a winding-up suit and unlikely to make any money.

East African Portland Cement which lost a suit by its former workers for a Sh1.4 billion payout has sunk further into negative territory. It needs Sh15 billion rescue plan.

The year has also seen Deacons and Athi River Mining placed under receivership by lenders to safeguard their interests with the companies’ liabilities piling up.

Deacons blamed the non-performance of major anchor tenants - Nakumatt and Uchumi supermarkets which cut shopping mall foot traffic.

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Profit DownsProfit WarningNairobi Securities Exchange