News

Squatters get three years to buy Portland Cement land

Squatters get three years to buy Portland Cement land

East
Africa Portland Cement (EAPC) has amended its terms for resolving dozens of
squatters on its 709 acres in Athi-River, just weeks after the first public
discussion to kick-start the land regularisation process.

The
updated terms are the result of negotiations between the listed cement maker
and the squatters, with the company now agreeing to a flexible three-year
payment plan rather than a one-year payment plan.

A
plot measuring 40 by 80 feet will be sold for Sh600,000, implying that the
company may raise up to Sh5 billion if the entire piece is sold, but this is
likely to be lower due to infrastructural provisions such as access roads.

The
buyers were given three-month notifications to put down deposits for their
land. Unregistered parcels of land will be auctioned off to the general public
after the notice period expires.

How Jackson Angaine grabbed 2,300 acres of Mt. Kenya Forest

It
has also been agreed that the first Sh100,000 administrative fee (payable in
three monthly instalments) that was to be paid as registration fee will be
deducted from the total sum owed by the squatters. According to EAPC, the
selling terms have been revised to allow vulnerable squatters to afford the
land.

“The
title deeds of all plots are ready bearing EAPC name. The agreement will
between an individual and the company,” said EAPC Gordon head of corporate
affairs and strategy Mutugi.

The
squatters, who settled on the land in 2010 after the company announced its plan
to sell after depleting limestone deposits, applauded the action, claiming they
had suffered for over a decade and lost money due to forcible evictions.

As
part of its balance sheet restructuring program, EAPC is selling the land to
raise funds to pay down existing debt and bridge a working capital deficiency.

On
lower administrative and selling costs, the company decreased its loss to Sh907
million in the six months to December 2021 from Sh1 billion the previous year.

Despite
revenue falling to Sh967.6 million from Sh1.3 billion, the lower losses
emphasized the impact of reducing costs.

Last
year, the company sent its employees home and employed new ones on a contract
basis, lowering its cost of sales from Sh1.7 billion to Sh1.3 billion.

Its
financial costs dropped to Sh101.2 million from Sh269.4 million, indicating
lower borrowings or debt renegotiation.

Read
full story here



Loading .....