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Cookie crumbles as biscuit maker Britania up for sale over Sh1.3b debt

A biscuit manufacturer which has been in operation for over three decades has been put up for sale over mounting debt.

Britania Foods Ltd, which was put under administration by PKF Consulting last year after failing to honour its debt obligations, owes creditors Sh1.3 billion, including a Sh900 million DTB Bank loan. 

Administrator Peter Kahi in a notice in yesterday’s dailies said the sale of the company, which began operations 34 years ago as a small bakery, would include its high-tech plant at Nairobi’s Industrial Area, factory buildings and raw materials.

“Offers are invited by not later than Friday, January 28, 2022,” reads the notice.

Britania was founded by the Nitin Dawda’s family but was later sold to local private equity firm Catalyst Principal Partners in 2016 before the latter brought on board Jambo Africa. The new owners later registered a new company in Kenya known as Britania Foods Ltd.

Until recently, Britania products, including biscuits, snacks and other confectionaries, had been a constant feature on many supermarket shelves.

The change in its fortunes coincided with the collapse of hitherto leading retail chains Nakumatt and Tuskys, which went down with more than Sh50 million of its money.

The market segment is now dominated by other players such as Manji Food Industries and Nuvita.

Britania’s woes came to the fore after Uzuri Foods sued the company for unpaid supplies of flour worth Shh17.3 million last year.

The firm’s woes were also precipitated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with demand for its products going down drastically following the closure of schools and hotels in a bid to contain the spread of the virus.