Home » Kenyan sugar baron Jaswant Rai-linked firm seeks approval to set up $42.2-million factory

Kenyan sugar baron Jaswant Rai-linked firm seeks approval to set up $42.2-million factory

by Omokolade Ajayi
Jaswant Rai

Sukari Industries Ltd., a privately held sugar manufacturing company linked to Kenyan businessman Jaswant Rai, is seeking regulatory approval to establish a new Ksh5.13-billion ($42.2 million) sugar cane milling factory in Narok, a town west of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city.

In a regulatory filing obtained by Standard Media, the Kenyan sugar company stated that it asked the National Environmental Management Authority to approve its proposed sugar mill, which has the capacity to produce 3,000 tonnes of cane per day (TCD) and is expandable to 6,000 TCD.

As part of its efforts to ensure the factory’s timely completion in accordance with its expansion plans, the group has already purchased a 20.195-hectare plot of land on which to build the 3,000-TCD factory as well as a staff quarter for technical and managerial personnel.

The project, which is a major win for Kenya, has the potential to employ up to 400 people. Its completion will drive growth and development of the agricultural value chain, as well as the local economy, which is still reeling from the effects of the recent war in Ukraine on the food supply chain.

The Rai family is one of the wealthiest families in Kenya. It controls Rai Group, Kenya’s second-largest sugar miller. The group operates through its subsidiaries West Kenya Sugar and Sukari Industries, and it owns Kinyara Sugar Works, Uganda’s second-largest miller.

With the opening of the new factory, the Rai family, which controls a multibillion-dollar sugar empire through West Kenya, Olepito, Sukari, and the newly opened Naitiri Sugar Company, will consolidate their dominance in the country’s sugar market, igniting a battle for market share with Mauritius’ largest sugar miller Alteo, which now operates Transmara Sugar Company Ltd.

Alteo Limited, a renowned sugar producer owned by the wealthy Mauritian Lagesse family, paid $8.2 million in August for an additional stake in Kenyan sugar producer Transmara Sugar Company Limited.

The deal, which increased its stake in Transmara Sugar from 51 to 69.23 percent, comes nearly seven years after Alteo acquired a controlling stake in Transmara to diversify its robust portfolio of sugar firms in line with its strategic expansion plans.

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