Kenya’s East African Portland Cement withdraws notice dismissing workforce

NAIROBI (Reuters) – East African Portland Cement backed away from a plan to dismiss its entire 800-strong workforce on Friday, saying it would make a further statement about restructuring the company. Kenya media reported earlier on Friday that the company had dismissed all of its workers. The Daily Nation newspaper cited an internal memo written by acting managing director Stephen Nthei saying the cement maker planned to rehire 600 of the staff, but on 40 percent of their previous pay.

“(The) notice has been withdrawn,” Nthei said in a letter addressed to the Kenya Chemical Workers Union and seen by Reuters.

“A fresh replacement notice on the intended company restructuring and staff rationalization shall be circulated in due course,” the letter said.

Portland is 52 percent owned by the government and LafargeHolcim owns a 41.7% stake.

Portland swung to a pre-tax profit of 6.96 billion shillings ($67.41 million) in the year to end June 2018 after a loss of 1.71 billion shillings in the previous year.

It has not released figures for fiscal year 2019.

It said last year it held a market share of 11%.

Portland’s rivals include Bamburi Cement and National Cement Company, which in May signed a deal to buy ARM Cement after it was put into administration last August by creditors over debts totalling $190 million.

($1 = 103.2500 Kenyan shillings)

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