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Ramco acquires security printing company Sintel

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Ramco acquires security printing company Sintel

CAK Director-General Wang’ombe Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Print and packaging firm Ramco Plexus has acquired 73.6 per cent of the issued share capital of scratchcard making giant Sintel Security Print Solutions.

The Competition of Authority of Kenya (CAK) said in a gazette notice that it had authorised the proposed acquisition of the security printing firm that makes scratch cards for telecommunications firms Safaricom #ticker:SCOM, Airtel and Telkom.

“PURSUANT to the provisions of section 46 (6) of the Competition Act, 2010, it is notified for general information that in exercise of the powers conferred upon the Competition Authority by section 46 (6) (a) (ii) of the Competition Act, the authority has authorised the proposed transaction as set out herein,” said the notice signed by CAK Director-General Wang’ombe Kariuki.

Thika-based Sintel also supplies cheques for local commercial banks and stamps to State firm Posta Kenya.

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Ramco Plexus, a subsidiary of regional print business conglomerate Ramco Group, has been on an expansion drive that saw it buy local printing company Panthera Publishers Ltd last year.

CAK approved the merger in 2018 on condition that Panthera’s 21 employees are retained.

Ramco Plexus was formed as a partnership between Ramco Group and Amethis Finance, a French private equity firm, and comprises a group of 12 companies based in East Africa. Other companies under the firm include Ramco Printing, ASL Packaging Ltd and Polythene Industries Ltd.

Further expansion will see Sintel’s Thika facility produce credit and debit cards. Other Sintel partners include education non-profit Amara Trust.



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24 health centres set for slums in Nairobi

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24 health centres set for slums in Nairobi

Nairobi Metropolitan Services
Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is set to construct 24 new health facilities in Nairobi’s informal settlements at a cost of Sh2 billion, in the next three months. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) is set to construct 24 new health facilities in Nairobi’s informal settlements at a cost of Sh2 billion, in the next three months.

The health facilities will be put up in Viwandani, Majengo, Mathare, Kayole Soweto, Korogocho, Kawangware, Gitare Marigu, Mukuru kwa Njenga, Mukuru kwa Reuben, Kibra and Githurai.

This even as plans are also underway to elevate Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital to a Level Five health facility.

The new development comes at a time when Covid-19 cases in the country continue to soar having passed the 10,000 mark with Nairobi County bearing the worst burden, especially the informal settlements.

The capital has been the epicenter of coronavirus accounting for half of the total cases across the country.

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According to NMS Director General Mohammed Badi, the construction of the facilities is part of new targets his administration seeks to achieve in the next 100 days.

“In my next 100 days, I intend to achieve building 24 fully functional hospitals in Nairobi’s informal settlements. Development comes at a cost and we must ensure we do not go back to where we came from,” said Major General Badi.

NMS Health Services Director Dr Josephine Kibaru-Mbae said out of the 24 health facilities, 19 will be constructed from scratch while the remaining five will be rehabilitated.

Early this month, the new office said Sh300 million will be spent in the current financial year to rehabilitate health facilities across the 17 sub-counties in Nairobi.

She pointed out that 10 out of the targeted number will be Level Two health facilities while the rest will be Level Three.

This, the director pointed out, is in line with NMS’s vision in terms of health care in informal settlements, which is provision of comprehensive and quality health services to city residents living in these areas.

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EAC Adopts New Measures to Shield Local Industries

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Countries in the East African Community have adopted new Common External Tariff (CET) import duty measures that seek to protect local industries from cheap imports. The new import taxes took effect on July 1, raising import duty for some products to shield domestic industries, while lowering import duty on critical inputs.

Currently, the CET stands at 25% for finished goods, 10% for intermediate products, and 0% for raw materials.

Categories of the import duty measures include the Duty Remission for Industrial Inputs, Stays of Applications, and Amendments of the East African Community Customs Management Act, 2004.

Under Duty remissions, local manufactures can import raw materials not available in the region at lower rates. According to the East African Business community CEO Dr. Peter Mathuki, this provision will only apply to gazetted manufacturers who will apply to import specific amounts of imports at lower rates.

“The duty remission measures adopted by the EAC Partner States will ensure that local manufacturers can import raw materials and inputs which are not available in the region at a lower rate,” Mathuki said in a Statement.

READ ALSO: EAC Trade Down by 40% Due to Movement Restrictions

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Stay of Application allows EAC partners to agree on a CET on the final product to stimulate local production. Countries can apply a higher rate than the CET on products like garments, leather shoes and belts, processed tea, coffee, cocoa, edible oil, iron sheets, and metal products to protect local production. In this case, Kenya will maintain an EAC CET 25% duty on margarine and edible mixtures for a year. However, the country will apply a 35% import duty for clothing apparel, both knitted and crocheted for a year as they are sensitive to the country. Most countries in the region have applied duty rates between 35% and 60%, showing a common need to protect industries, and therefore review the CET.

Noting that the EAC cannot manufacture everything, Stay of Application allows countries to set duties lower than the CET on products like mobile phones, wheat, and sugar.

Individual Country Import Duty Could Prevent Uniform Policy.

Nevertheless, Mathuki believes that different stays of application could prevent the region from developing a uniform policy governing imports into the region. Further, it will prevent products that benefit from a uniform EAC CET from accessing the area at a preferential tariff. Mathuki, therefore, recommends a review to fastrack a harmonized CET.

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Equity Group Takes Over KSh2.1 Billion EA Cables Loan

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Equity Group Holding has taken over KSh 2.1 billion East Africa cables loan. EA Cables 2018 financial report reveals a huge debt portfolio amounting to KSh3.55 billion owed to several lenders; Standard Chartered Bank Kenya $25.6 million, Standard Chartered Bank Tanzania $5.32 million, Ecobank Kenya $1.61 million, State Bank of Mauritius $2.85 million, and Credit Bank Kenya ltd $38,200.

The East African reports that Equity Group will refinance EA cables existing debt over a longer period thus reducing the monthly principal loan repayments. The transaction will allow EA cables to plow back cash flows into the business to return it to a strong financial footing.

READ ALSO: TransCentury to Delay Publishing Financial Reports.

Equity Bank will take over and restructure loans over a 10-year tenure. The gross loans acquired by Equity bank amounted to $20.46 million.

EA cables had delayed the release of the financial reports for the year ended 31 December 2019 citing debt restructuring negotiations. The savings from this transaction will be captured in the financial reports for the year 2019 expected to be released on July 31.

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