The Devki Group Chairman, Nerandra Raval has confirmed that 1,100 employees of Athi River Mining (ARM) Company, previously put under administration will be retained by the group’s subsidiary, National Cement Company.
Raval said the decision to retain all the affected employees was deliberately anchored in Devki Group’s resolve to protect their livelihoods and support job creation as the company continues to play a significant role in boosting the country’s manufacturing output and support affordable housing drive by reducing cost of construction materials.
The Chairman was speaking on Monday to all the employees of the former ARM Cement, when ARM Cement administrators, PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) handed over the operations of ARM to National Cement.
“We are happy to inform you that we have been able to complete the ARM acquisition and cleared all the transaction cost amounting to Sh5 billion to the PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC),” said Raval.
“We want to play a pivotal role in government’s big four Agenda on Manufacturing and Affordable housing by having enough workforce to boost manufacturing activities,” added Mr. Raval.
The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) on October 4th 2019 gave National Cement Company the nod to take takeover the operations of ARM Cement subject.
The CAK in a letter signed by the CAK Chairman, Amb. Nelson Ndirangu and the Director General, Wang’ombe Kariuki asked National Cement to retain 95 percent or 1,054 of 1,100 of ARM Cement (Under administration) employees.
“To stay true to our mission and vision, National Cement Co. Ltd is pleased to report that we have gone a step further to retain all the employees as we work together to improve the productivity and create more employment in future,” said Mr. Raval.
George Weru, the Joint Administrator for ARM Cement said, “We are pleased to announce the completion of this Transaction which marks a crucial step for the delivery of our mandate as Joint Administrators of ARM Cement to realize value for the creditors, ensure continuity for the business and its suppliers and in the process safeguard the jobs of its employees through a going concern sale. Achieving this important milestone in the administration would not have been possible without the support and cooperation of various stakeholders including the Company’s employees, creditors, regulators as well as the various financial and legal advisors that have worked tirelessly to ensure the completion.”
The additional workforce effectively makes Devki Group one of the biggest direct employers in the country with 6,000 local workers.
Raval said the new development underscores Devki Group’s commitment in production of quality and affordable steel and cement to spur development in the construction industry and job creation.
“Increased supply of construction materials like steel and cement in the market will significantly reduce prices and overall construction costs to make it easier for more Kenyans to own homes,” he said.
The government has committed to construct 500,000 affordable houses in the next five years to alleviate housing shortage in the country and boost contribution of manufacturing to the economy. Mr. Raval said he is committed to support President Kenyatta’s administration with the agenda.
“Our strategic position allows us to make significant contributions in these two sectors. Our bigger workforce is our strength. We remain committed to provide quality steel and cement at affordable price to all our local customers,” he said.
ARM operations in Kenya include a clinker and cement grinding plants in Kaloleni and Athi River. ARM Cement was placed under administration on August 17, 2018.
By Joseph Ng’ang’a