Home » Kenyan tycoon Tabitha Karanja rules out stake sale in $198.8-million row

Kenyan tycoon Tabitha Karanja rules out stake sale in $198.8-million row

by Omokolade Ajayi

Kenyan liquor tycoon Tabitha Karanja has revealed that the other owners and members of the board of directors of Keroche Breweries have ruled out the potential sale of the Kenyan brewer as the management navigates an uncertain future following the Kenya Revenue Authority’s (KRA) move to shut down its factory over a Ksh22.8-billion ($198.8 million) tax bill.

While commenting on the tax dispute with the KRA, Karanja, who launched Keroche Breweries in 1997, said they do not envision the brewer being sold, as it is not the best choice for the firm.

“I don’t think it can be the best option. Everybody would want Keroche to survive so that we show that we can also do it,” she said in response to the widely held belief among investment analysts that Keroche will sell part of her shareholding and assets to weather the financial crisis.

After a protracted negotiation with the proprietors of the struggling corporation on Thursday over the disputed $198.8-million tax bill, KRA suggested concessions for Keroche Breweries in response to Karanja’s earlier plea to the Kenyan government and a demand for a 12-month grace period.

The tax body stated that the concession is part of a workable understanding as KRA and Keroche are committed to working out an amicable solution to the present tax issue.

Recently, the brewer has had to reduce its operational activities in order to survive, as it only retained staff supplying key services like as maintenance, while noting on the strategic decisions made thus far to survive despite the pandemic’s influence on Keroche’s operations.

The brewer currently has about 2 million liters of beer in storage tanks worth Ksh512 million ($4.5 million), with monthly maintenance bills of Ksh30 million ($263,018).

Under the leadership of Karanja and her husband, Joseph, Keroche Breweries has developed into one of the top corporations in the Kenyan market for the sale of alcoholic beverages and wines.

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