Africa

Commercial banks were on Thursday scouring their records for signals as to how big the government’s decision to revoke more than 130 titles for prime properties in Nairobi, the first of a countrywide cancellation of dubious land ownership deeds, would damage their loan books, Business Daily Africa reported. Lands minister James Orengo said his office had used executive orders to cancel 137 titles that were illegally issued for public land without following due process.
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The Chief Executive officer of the Capital Markets Authority Stella Kilonzo said the firm has been found not to be in compliance with the legal and regulatory provisions as outlined in the CMA Act for some time. Wycliffe Shamiah has been appointed the Statutory Manager with effect from 5 February 2010 for a period of six (6) months, the Kenya Broadcasting Company reported. This is the third brokerage firm to be put under receivership after Nyaga stockbrokers and Discount Security limited. Read more.
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Dubai’s failure to reassure investors its restructuring plan will succeed is causing the emirate’s benchmark stock index to drop the most in the world and forcing companies to scrap bond sales, Bloomberg reported. The Dubai Financial Market General Index lost 13 percent since Dec. 14, wiping out a rally sparked by Abu Dhabi’s bailout of Dubai World that day.
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Dubai’s failure to reassure investors its restructuring plan will succeed is causing the emirate’s benchmark stock index to drop the most in the world and forcing companies to scrap bond sales, BusinessWeek reported on a Bloomberg story. The Dubai Financial Market General Index lost 15 percent since Dec. 14, wiping out a rally sparked by Abu Dhabi’s bailout of Dubai World that day.
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The government will review receivership laws with the aim of reducing the number of companies that are driven to the graveyard by statutory managers, the Daily Nation reported. Experts say that the current laws provide leeway to entities owed money — whose chief concern is recovery of their loans — sometimes leading to the collapse of companies that could have been saved by proper management. This review would have the effect of making the business environment better for local companies.
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The journey to resumption of trading in Uchumi Supermarkets’ shares on the Nairobi Stock Exchange will start today after its bankers agreed to renegotiate terms of its loans and lift the retail chain from receivership, BusinessDaily Africa reported. The company’s shares were suspended from trading on the bourse after it closed its stores in mid-2006 following a botched expansion plan which led to a Sh1.2 billion loss in 2005 and left the firm indebted to the tune of Sh2 billion which it owed to suppliers and KCB and PTA bank.
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From his home in the quiet village of Rorbas, outside Zurich, Rudolf M. Elmer is chipping away at the centuries-old traditions of Swiss banking secrecy, The New York Times reported. Mr. Elmer, who ran the Caribbean operations of the Swiss bank Julius Baer for eight years until he was dismissed in 2002, moved to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and began parceling out to global tax authorities what he said were the secrets of his former employer.
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The High Court has issued orders lifting the debt-ridden Kenya Planters Cooperatives Union out of receivership, the Daily Nation reported. Union chairman Watson Kimathi said the court ruling was “the perfect Christmas gift for farmers”. “We will now resume operations early next year and farmers will be advised when to start delivering coffee,” he said. The union had been under receivership since October 19 because of a Sh700 million debt to the Kenya Commercial Bank. Deloitte Consulting has been running its affairs.
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Another 2,140 workers at First Quench Retailing, the group behind British off-license chains Threshers and Wine Rack, are losing their jobs after the administrator said it would close 391 more stores by Dec. 20, Reuters reported. Administrator KPMG has already announced the closure of 754 stores with the loss of over 3,600 jobs. It said on Friday it had sold 13 stores and the Wine Rack brand to Venus Wine & Spirits Merchants, sold eight stores to SEP Properties and was still in talks regarding the sale of another 100 stores.
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Wen Jiabao, China's premier, has pledged $10 billion in new low-cost loans to Africa over the next three years and has defended his country's engagement on the continent against accusations that it is "plundering" the region's oil and minerals, The Washington Post reported. Wen made the pledge Sunday at a China-Africa summit here, at which he also urged the United States to keep its deficit to an "appropriate size" to ensure the "basic stability" of the dollar. The loan pledge for Africa was double a $5 billion commitment made in 2006.
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