DEAL

Relief for EA Cables as lender agrees to restructure loan

The two have agreed a new long-term facility and security arrangement

In Summary

•SBM Bank Kenya had filed a petition to liquidate the loss-making cable manufacturer  after it defaulted on a Sh285 million loan.

•The withdrawal of the petition is a significant step towards the company’s turnaround plan, management now says.

East African Cables products./
East African Cables products./
Image: COURTESY

East African Cables (PLC) has received a major reprieve after SBM Bank (Kenya) rescinded its liquidation plans and instead crafted a debt settlement and restructuring agreement.

The lender had early this year filed a petition to liquidate the loss-making cable manufacturer after it defaulted on a Sh285 million loan.

This was under the Insolvency Act 2015 which provides directions for resolving companies unable to pay their obligations.

On Thursday, East African Cables which is part of TransCentury  Group's holdings said it had reached a debt settlement plan-a much-needed relief for the company which has been struggling with losses and debt owed to various creditors including bondholders and banks.

“The agreement involves a restructure of the outstanding facilities by the bank under a new long-term facility and security arrangement,” EA Cables Company Secretary Virginia Ndunge said in a public notice.

“The board and management of the company appreciate the great support they have received from all the lenders in the company’s debt restructure plan, recognizes and values this partnership,” it said.

The withdrawal of the petition is a significant step towards the company’s turnaround plan, management now says, that includes strengthening of the balance sheet, operational improvement and having the right funding structure for growth and profitability.

Other lenders seeking their monies include Ecobank which recently sought to recover Sh190 million, part of a Sh350 million credit facility extended to the company between 2011 and 2013.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm jumped back to profitability last year despite a decline in turnover, posting net earnings of Sh634 million for the six months ended June 30, 2019.

This was a significant shift from losses of Sh303 million recorded over the same period the previous year, as the company which has facilities in Kenya, Tanzania and Eastern DRC faced a tough business environment in the wake of cheap imports mainly from China.

 

The firm also has presence in Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia, through a distribution network.

It specializes in manufacturing an extensive range of cables for applications in domestic and Industrial lighting, as well as transmission and distribution of electricity.

The company also offers data, telecommunication and fiber optic solutions.