East African Portland Cement pleads for more time

Simon Peter Ole Nkeri, managing director of East African Portland Cement (EAPC), has urged the courts and creditors to give the company time, while it trims staff levels and sells 14,000 acres of land to the newly-established Special Economy Zones Authority (SPEZA).

"All we are saying to the court is we need time to sort issues out and sell some assets. Creditors are also knocking on our doors, but we have a plan," said Mr Nkeri.

EAPC needs to take urgent measures to return to profitability. While the company has already released 520 workers, the workforce is still over-staffed.

"The company has 133 jobs vis-á-vis 1600 employees, meaning that it had 10 people per job, hence a lot of idling around," said Mr Keri.

As well as reducing staff levels, EAPC plans to restore plant utilisation levels that have dropped to 50 per cent. "We need to get the capacity from 50 per cent to full capacity. We are currently milling 1.3Mt (of cement) but producing 600,000t," Mr Nkeri said.

Production has also been affected by the erratic coal prices which are retailing at US$185/t. EAPC needs 8000tpm of coal and needs to supplement its clinker production to operate at full capacity.

Finance could be raised by the sale of land that EAPC owns if it can obtain consent from the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) and the government. EAPC aims to sell 14,000 acres of land for KES10bn (US$99.3m) to SPEZA.

With new liquidity, EAPC believes it can regain market share lost to Bamburi Cement.

Published under Cement News

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