It is a new year and one in which we are digesting some late news from some of Kenya’s development partners who have had challenges outside the country that may have an impact on the country’s development plans.
We have De La Rue PLC, one of the leading currency printers in the world, including of Kenya’s banknotes series. The company, with which Kenya invested £5 million (over Sh500 million) for 40 percent of a joint venture in 2016, has now undertaken a restructuring of its currency and automation divisions and sold its identity business. It also announced an unexpected half-year loss, a new CEO, and suspended future dividend payments to manage its debt levels.
There is also Tullow Oil which first discovered oil in Uganda in 2006 and later in Turkana, Kenya in 2014. From this find, Kenya exported its first oil shipment with much fanfare in August last year and another is set for next month. But in December, Tullow revised down its global production forecasts and announced leadership changes including a new CEO and a new exploration director.
Back in 2010, there was a proposal for Tullow Oil to cross-list on the Uganda Stock Exchange where it would be worth four times all the listed companies in Uganda put together. But in 2019, Tullow’s share price fell by 70 percent during the year. A missed opportunity.
Then there is CMC di Ravenna who underwent a restructuring that they call a Composition Plan in Italy and which some Kenyans call a bankruptcy. They have been working on Itare Dam which they have now abandoned, but which they indicated they were ready to complete and this would be hastened if Kenya paid them Sh335 million for work already done. They also appointed new CEO and reconfirmed their General Manager who is yet to show up in a Kenyan court to answer to charges in cases relating to the Kimwarer and Arror dams.