Eveready loss burden lightens in 2015

Friday January 22 2016

Eveready East Africa managing director Jackson Mutua during the unveiling of the company's diversification plan on September 29, 2014 at a Nairobi hotel. The company is owed Sh11 million by financially troubled Uchumi Supermarkets. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU |

Eveready East Africa managing director Jackson Mutua during the unveiling of the company's diversification plan on September 29, 2014 at a Nairobi hotel. The company is owed Sh11 million by financially troubled Uchumi Supermarkets. FILE PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By EDWIN OKOTH
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Eveready East Africa cut its net losses by 56 per cent in the year ended September 2015 but remained far from making a profit for shareholders.

The firm’s Sh77.7 million loss in the period, down from Sh177.5 million the year before, is attributed largely to reduced costs from its closed Nakuru factory.

Although the company’s finance costs shot up by 84 per cent due to currency depreciation and the doubling of interest rates, Eveready looks forward for a brighter 2016.

“The company will further invest into two additional products lines in the FY16 and coupled with the foundation set last year will position the business firmly on the path to growth and recovery,” red a result comment signed by board chairperson Lucy Waithaka and Managing Directors Jackson Mutua.

Plant closure costs dropped to Sh6.7 million from Sh246.3 million as the former battery manufacturer adopted the lean business model focused on distribution.

Shut down

The product diversification is expected to add to Eveready’s venture into real estate after the manufacturing plant was shut down and 100 employees sent home.

The former battery maker has now added Alkaline rechargeable batteries, flashlights, shaving razors, blades and accessories under the brand name Schick. They also introduced the Turbo brand of automotive batteries as well as its newest range of luminaries under the brand name EVEREADY.

The directors have not recommended any dividend for shareholders in the AGM slated for April.

Eveready also reviewed some of her export market leading to a decline in revenues by 7 per cent.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm closed down its battery manufacturing plant and sacked 99 employees as part of its reorganisation strategy.

The firm which has operated the Nakuru plant for 47 years said it was no longer profitable to continue manufacturing batteries due to increased counterfeits and cheap imports which have reduced its market share to 25 per cent.