Kenya has room to refinance its debt by extending the tenure of some of its loans, the central bank governor said on Tuesday, but it faces growing risks from an unsteady global economy, Reuters reported. Slowdowns in Europe and China, uncertainty over Brexit, a U.S.-China trade war and the recent U.S. government shutdown have all contributed to fears of a crisis in the global economy, Patrick Njoroge told a news conference. “Clearly, the global economy is without a rudder,” Njoroge said. “It’s just coasting and without direction.
Kenya is in talks with lenders to roll over a $760 mln syndicated loan this fiscal year and lengthen its maturity in order to make debt repayments more manageable, a senior Treasury official said on Tuesday. The loan, which was initially for two years, was arranged by TDB bank, said Kamau Thugge, the principal secretary at the ministry of finance, Reuters reported. The government aimed to increase the tenor of the loan to seven or 10 years, he said, adding that they had not yet struck an agreement with lenders whom he did not identify.
Oman’s Raysut Cement said on Tuesday it plans to acquire Kenya’s ARM Cement, which went into administration in August, as part of its expansion plans. Raysut has expressed its interest to the administrators to acquire the company, it said in a statement. “The acquisition will complement Raysut’s revised strategy to manufacture clinker in proximity to the markets it supplies to in East Africa,” Raysut said in the statement, adding that the acquisition was estimated to be worth more than $100 million, Reuters reported.
Creditors of Kenya’s ARM Cement, once the country’s second-largest cement maker but which has been in administration since August, approved on Tuesday the sale of a subsidiary or assets to reduce its debt of $190 million, Reuters reported. The creditors did not identify which subsidiary or assets would be sold, or the possible value of a sale, under Tuesday’s rescue plan, during which the company will remain operational. George Weru, one of the co-administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), told Reuters they had 12 months to rescue the company.
The administrator of Kenya’s debt-laden ARM Cement will ask its creditors for support to keep the company running by selling some of ARM’s assets to cut debt, as well as a plan to engage with financiers for working capital, Reuters reported. George Weru, a co-administrator for the cement firm, told Reuters the proposals will be put to the company’s creditors on Tuesday when they meet to chart the best way forward. The company was put into administration in August by some of its creditors and its shares suspended from the Nairobi bourse.