Business Briefs

KISS FM firings: Another round of media musical chairs, this time at KISS FM. Most of them should land jobs at other media houses, further confusing listeners who tend to associate the personalities with particular stations. Last month it was Nation TV which poached several personalities from KTN.

Kenya Railways Privatization Plan: Seven bidders have been given till June 15 to submit their proposals to the government to manage KR, and the winner will be announced December 15th. The government has asked the bidders to consider the following in their proposals; (i) retain KR’s 9,000 workers until a World Bank retrenchment plan is adopted (ii) double the volume of cargo carried by KR within 5 years (iii) sign a performance management contract. The bidders have in turn agreed to increase KR’s capacity by 20% a year, and have all expressed no interest in continuing any passenger traffic on KR.

Nation Media Group: Turnover at the NMG increased from 4.5 billion in 2003 to 4.9 billion in 2004, and net profit increased from 602 to 641 million shillings (12 shillings EPS). They will pay a 100% dividend (5 shillings per share?) and in addition, shareholders will receive one bonus share for each three they hold as at May 2005.

Unilever Tea Kenya: Posted a 360m profit, up from 62 million in 2003, attributing it to better tea sales, improvements in production and favorable exchange rates. The profit comes to an earning per share (EPS)of 7.39 for the year, of which they will pay 6 shillings as a dividend. In 2003, they also paid 6 shilling divided, but on earnings per share 1.27 shillings only.

Uchumi: Uchumi lost 632 million in the last six months of 2004, compared to a loss of 217 million in the same period last year. Their turnover also reduced from 4.3 billion to 3 billion. They are renewing their inventory and will dispose of land, buildings & non-core assets to raise 900 million shillings for debt and creditor repayments.