Business News Highlights

Sugar prices remain high despite fall in factory costs

The price of sugar at the factory level has dropped by nearly four per cent even as the shelf price of the sweetener remains high, a situation the regulator blamed on profiteering by retailers.

A 50 kilogramme bag of sugar is now trading at Sh5,400 from Sh5,600 last month, but the decline has not reflected in the supermarket prices, at Sh135 for local sugar.

“The factory prices have dropped to an average of Sh5,400 at the moment, though this has not reflected in shelf price as a result of business people who want to make high margins,” said Mr Alfred Busolo, Agriculture Food Authority director-general.

The regulator, however, said consumer prices have been shielded from further rise due to increased imports to cater for the shortfall in domestic production, which has resulted from a sugarcane shortage.

Two Kenyan SMEs picked for Africa entrepreneurship award

Two Kenyan firms are among six African small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) nominated as finalists for the Africa Finance and Investment Forum (AFIF) Entrepreneurship Award 2017.

RnG Ltd and EuroFresh Exotics were picked from 51 companies by a panel of judges from the event organiser EMRC, an international organisation based in Brussels, Belgium.

“We are delighted to announce the finalists for the AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2017 after a really difficult selection process. The innovation and creativity of African-based SMEs makes our job more difficult every year,” said senior project manager Ines Bastos in a statement.

RnG company sells packaged Rhizo-fix (groundnut inoculum), a bio-fertiliser that ensures a more efficient groundnut production. It also collects the groundnuts from local farmers to produce affordable cooking oil.

EuroFresh Exotics produces and exports fresh fruits and vegetables using innovative farming techniques. It also organises capacity building trainings for smallholder farmers.

Kenya’s exports to Uganda decline by 20 per cent

Kenya’s exports to Uganda declined by 20 per cent in the first 10 months of 2016 in a worrying trend that has seen the country lose out in other key markets. The latest data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows that exports to Uganda dipped from Sh52.2 billion last year to Sh41.8 billion in the 10 months to October.

Uganda is Kenya’s biggest export market. A drop in exports is a therefore a key concern for policy makers, especially at a time when the East African market has been flooded by cheaper imports from China.

READ ALSO: Kenya under pressure to beef up border security

Kenya mostly exports food, beverages and small industrial products to Uganda. In addition the country is major route for Uganda’s fuel exports since it is landlocked. The country is fighting to keep its leadership position as the preferred route for importation of petroleum products for other East African Community (EAC) members, due to concerns of adulteration. Rwanda prefers to use Tanzania, which it claims has cleaner fuel and has a bigger axle load limit, offering better economies of scale.

Billionaire investor Baloobhai buys 4 per cent stake in Carbacid for Sh150 million

Billionaire investor Baloobhai Patel has acquired an extra four per cent stake in Carbacid for Sh150 million, cementing his position as the top shareholder of the company.

Mr Patel bought 11.4 million shares in the year to July 2016, raising his interest in the NSE-listed firm from 26 per cent to 30 per cent, according to Carbacid’s latest annual report. The purchases came amid a steady decline in the firm’s share price during the year from highs of Sh17.7 to lows of Sh14.7, reflecting the bear run that has gripped Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) stocks.

READ ALSO: Government to increase Telkom Kenya stake to 40pc

The investment is seen as a sign of the billionaire investor’s confidence in the company’s future prospects. Mr Patel is typically a long-term investor who holds stocks for many years after purchase.

His Carbacid stake is now worth Sh1 billion based on the firm’s share price of Sh13.05 in Tuesday’s trading, making it the most valuable among his equities portfolio.

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