October 18, 2018 / 12:53 PM / 25 days ago

Creditor seeks to wind up Kenya's Uchumi Supermarkets over debt

NAIROBI, Oct 18 (Reuters) - A Kenyan company is seeking the dissolution of retailer Uchumi Supermarkets over a 44.8 million shilling ($444,000) debt, according to court documents seen by Reuters on Thursday.

Documents dated Aug. 31 and filed by Githunguri Dairies, a local milk producer and processor, at the High Court in Nairobi also seek an order from the court to have Uchumi placed under receivership.

The private Business Daily newspaper reported on Thursday that five other companies had also joined the suit, seeking to recover a total of 471 million shillings.

Officials at Uchumi were not immediately available to comment.

Uchumi, Kenya’s only listed retailer, was thrown into turmoil in June 2015 when it sacked its chief executive for alleged gross misconduct and an audit uncovered the loss of funds raised through a rights issue.

A subsequent exodus of suppliers, unhappy over unpaid bills, left empty shelves in the chain’s stores, as losses mounted.

A subsequent attempt to turn the supermarket around then stalled, and in late last year the CEO hired to revive the chain resigned.

The troubles at Uchumi, and the implosion of privately held retailer Nakumatt, have opened the door to foreign chains such as France’s Carrefour to operate franchises in the East African nation.

Uchumi had another period on receivership starting in mid-2006.

$1 = 100.8500 Kenyan shillings Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Mark Potter

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