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Uchumi expands its board members

By | November 26th 2011

By Patrick Githinji

Uchumi Supermarket has finally picked new board members after the Nairobi Stock Exchange re-listed its shares .

The supermarket chain appointed three new directors – Khadija Mire, Barth Ragalo, and James Murigu to sit on the board. Addressing shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) since its re-listing in June, the supermarket’s Chief Executive Office Jonathan Ciano said the names of the directors would be forwarded to Capital Market Authority for approval.

"All the three directors have agreed to sit on the board and what we are waiting now is to submit their names to CMA for approval. The new directors are expected to move us (Uchumi) to the next phase of growth," explained Ciano. Ciano was the only director after former ones quit at the height of Uchumi’s debt crisis. "Now I will never feel lonely," Ciano said.

Uchumi’s shares are making a comeback since May 2006 when the supermarket chain was put on receivership over massive debts to banks and suppliers. During the AGM, the CEO was put to task by shareholders to table the qualifications of the directors, as well to clarify any vested interest the directors may have.

"These people are highly qualified. I also assure you that the new directors are not suppliers of the supermarket. But they are clean, we have vetted them," explined Ciano.

Uchumi was declared solvent in March last year, after it recorded profit for the third year running, paving the way for the lifting of its receivership. The improved fortune was helped by a decision of the Government to convert Sh350 million loan to the company into equity.

Ciano expects the firm’s profit to grow to Sh1.93 billion in the next two years, up from Sh1.54 billion recorded a year earlier.

The retailer reported after tax profit of Sh865 million in June last year compared to Sh421 million after tax profit recorded in 2009.

By June last year, the retailer had a total liabilities of Sh1.6 billion, which was about Sh100 million more than the Sh1.5 billion share capital and accumulated reserves of the company.

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