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KRA, two banks risk big loss at Deacons

By Otiato Guguyu | January 23rd 2019

Judith Nyanja shares a fun moment after purchasing clothes during the launch of Mr. Price shop at the Two Rivers Mall in Nairobi on Feb 14, 2017. East Africa Deacons opened four new retail outlets, bringing the total number of stores up to 39 across Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. [PHOTO: JONAH ONYANGO/STANDARD]

Creditors could lose Sh1 billion if fashion retailer Deacons is shut down.

The listed clothing shop has not received any interest from a buyer since it was placed in receivership in November last year when it experienced cash flow problems.

Its creditors include Kenya Revenue Authority, United Bank for Africa and NIC Bank,

Deacons, which declared a loss of Sh229 million for the first six months of 2018, sunk further into negative territory, posting a Sh628 million loss in the period to November 25, 2018, and was unable to meet its debt obligations.

“This statement of affairs indicates that in the event of a liquidation (forced sale basis) the creditors are likely to lose 95 per cent of their debt, with unsecured creditors likely to lose 100 per cent of their debt,” a report by the company's administrator, PKF, seen by The Standard says.

“The administrators have not received any specific interest from any investors or buyers.”

Deacons owed a total of Sh1.12 billion to banks, the Kenya Revenue Authority, staff and its suppliers, with NIC having lent the retailer Sh387.5 million and UBA Sh152.8 million.

Recovery of the money is difficult since the only significant assets available for sale are stocks, fittings and fixtures in the retail stores as well as some office equipment and motor vehicles.

“The stocks, if sold on a quick sale auction basis, would realise significantly low values as compared to their book values and/or going concern. The fixtures and fittings once removed would only be sold as scrap and the brick and mortar costs would be a sunk cost,” the report said.

Fragile market

Deacons also operates in a very fragile market that is sensitive to style and stock may lose appeal if not disposed of quickly.

PKF said investors could only get their money back if they forgave part of the debt and allowed the company to continue operations.

The proposals include debt to equity conversion, sale of assets for loss-making stores, sale of subsidiaries in Rwanda and Uganda or their assets thereof and debt reduction through potential debt waiver by creditors.

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