The story stretches decades back.
Manu Chandaria’s father, an Indian immigrant, laid the earliest foundation of the Comcraft Group in 1915 when he relocated to Nairobi to start a provisions shop in Nairobi’s Biashara street.
In 2011, Mr Chandaria made it to the Forbes 40 Richest Africans list, and he is one of Kenya’s wealthiest businessmen.
Court papers show the company was knee-deep in Sh12.6 billion debts, including bank loans, unsecured commercial paper holders and shareholder advances, against assets of Sh1.3 billion when placed under receivership in May 2021.
NCBA which is owned by the Kenyatta family, put the company under receivership over non-payment of a Sh4.3 billion debt, placing the Cooperative Bank loan at Sh4.8 billion.
The placement of Kaluworks under receiver manager Rao, Pongangipalli Rao, marked a rare blot in the career of industrial magnate Mr Chandaria, the chairman of Comcraft
But the lenders opted to return the firm to Chandaria’s Comcraft Group after balking at having to inject Sh750 million to revive the company amid hurdles in getting a buyer for the firm.
The banks last year appointed a receiver manager to turn around Kaluworks, one of Kenya’s largest manufacturers of aluminium utensils and roofing sheets, or protect its assets in the race to recover the multi-billion shilling debt.
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