TransCentury now eyes rebound after era of financial turbulence

TransCentury CEO Nganga Njiinu during the Interview with The Standard at his offices ,WestEnd Towers,Nairobi. Ten years ago, TransCentury used to run the show. It was managing mega projects in Kenya and across the region. It acquired a stake in Civicon, an engineering firm with significant contracts with players in the nascent oil sector. The company also came to the aid of the concession of Kenya Railways, buying a stake into the Rift Valley Railways, a consortium that won the contract to manage the railway line from Mombasa to Jinja. Now, it is no secret that the investment firm is in a financial comatose. But its Chief Executive Ng’ang’a Njiinu doesn’t only believe that the cash-strapped firm will emerge from its current financial turbulence, but its growth will transcend a 100 years. “These are purely funding issues,” Mr Njiinu told Financial Standard in an interview in Nairobi last week. Optimists are not always right, they are just that, optimists. At its peak, the share price of the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE)-listed company traded at a high of Sh60 a few days after it started trading at the bourse in 2011. Today, the stock has since tumbled, wiping out billions in paper wealth. Lenders who have extended credit to the firm also stand to lose a fortune as losses eat into its assets. But according to Mr Njiinu, giving up has never been an option. “We created this organisation that doesn’t have a termination point,” he said. TransCentury’s immortality, says Njiinu, stems from its permanent capital. “That is why all these businesses can sit on our balance sheet. We give them the shock absorber,” he added. Last week, the company said it had completed a debt restructuring deal that saw its subsidiary, East African Cables, reducing its debt by almost half. The restructuring reduced the group’s debt by Sh1.65 billion or 44 per cent and offered a 10-year extension to the tenure of remaining debts, both firms said in a statement. Restructuring is part of the company’s solution that will not only move it from one point to the other, but that will ensure its existence for the next 100 years, according to Njiinu. To get out of turbulence, the firm wants to ensure it has the right funding structure in place and strengthen relationships with stakeholders, including suppliers and clients. But even more critical for a company whose creditors […]

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