KENYA: Mumias board confirms new CEO

Published: 06/19/2017, 11:44:35 AM

Mumias Sugar Company has formally confirmed Nashon Aseka to head the cash-strapped miller to take over its turnaround plan, according to Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper.

The company's board of directors Friday confirmed the appointment of Aseka as the chief executive officer, making a return to the miller where he once worked as a factory manager before moving to the Agriculture and Food Authority's Sugar Directorate.

"This is to announce to the general public that the Board of Directors has appointed Nashon Aseka as the Chief Executive Officer of Mumias Sugar Company Limited effective 15th June 2017.

"Nashon has a vast experience in the sugar industry spanning over 35 years," read a statement signed by board chairman Kennedy Mulwa.

Mulwa said the appointment was done after a competitive recruitment process adding that Aseka was already in the office and was well received by both the staff and the farmers.

In April, Aseka was rejected by Nzoia Sugar cane farmers after he was appointed to head the miller.

Mulwa said the same scenario was not anticipated in his new role at Mumias Sugar.

"Farmers in Nzoia are different from farmers in Mumias, I am confident he will deliver as he has worked here before," Mulwa said.

Aseka has also worked in Masinde Muliro University of Science and Technology and at the defunct Sugar Board.

Errol Johnston, who was previously been at the helm of the miller, went for a terminal leave before the end of his two-year renewable term in August.

The management transition comes shortly after a recent board overhaul which saw the entry of Mulwa, replacing Dan Ameyo.

Ameyo opted not put himself up for re-election during the Mumias annual general meeting held in December 2016.

The loss-making miller has gulped KES2 billion (US$19.3 million) from the government in bailouts without any major success according to its financial results.

The listed firm reported a half-year net loss of KES2.92 billion in the period to December 2016, an 87.07% dip compared to KES1.56 billion the previous year.

The firm has also given a profit warning with earnings expected to drop by more than 25% for the year ending June 2017 from its KES4.73 billion loss reported last year.

"Mumias Sugar Company Limited hereby announces that the projected loss for the year ending June 30, 2017 will be more than 25% compared to the loss reported in the same period last year," Mulwa said in a regulatory filing in February.

President Uhuru Kenyatta recently met leaders from the western region where he promised that the government would give an additional KES3.6 billion to bail out the company.

Like other State-owned millers, the government has been protecting Mumias from cheaper imports by trade barriers but mismanagement, outdated farming methods and corruption has seen the firms sink deeper into the red over time.