Cash strapped supermarket chain Tuskys owes suppliers Sh6.2 billion, a letter written by the retailer to the Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) shows.
In the letter dated August 7, the Supermarket chain told the regulator that it has reached an agreement to settle 40% of the amount over two years.
The retailer is now under the radar of CAK’s buyer power department after it reneged on agreements to pay suppliers who have in turn halted deliveries leading to empty shelves at one of Kenya’s largest retailers.
“Total trade supplier debt is Sh6.2 billion. As at August 6, 2020, 40 percent of this supplier debt has been rescheduled and the respective suppliers have signed individual agreements to reschedule the debt to periods between eight months and 24 months,” Tuskys wrote to the regulator on August 7, 2020.
“Having these debts rescheduled and restructured, allows Tuskys time to reorganise cash flows and meet supplier obligations.”
In the letter as reported by Business Daily, the retailer says it has reached an agreement with suppliers to deliver goods worth Ksh1.2 billion having already sent over goods worth Ksh200 million.
This comes after Tuskys paid suppliers Ksh2.7 billion in June following the intervention of CAK which has scaled up operations in order to protect suppliers and creditors following complaints that Tuskys was abusing its power in the market by refusing to honour agreements.
However, the retailer is slowly losing its market to other supermarkets as Kenyans continue to report empty shelves across Tuskys outlets.
New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (New KCC) had halted milk supplies to Tuskys in July over defaulted payments running into millions of shillings.
Tuskys became the first major retailer to face the scrutiny of CAK’s Buyer Power Department that was created after former supermarket giant Nakumatt Holdings went under with Ksh18.5 billion of supplier debt.
If Tuskys pays off its debt in its entirety it will regain the freedom to operate independently without its every move being watched by the regulator.
Meanwhile, Tuskys’ board remains in talks with international lenders regarding the sale of some stake which the company’s directors anticipate will go a long way in settling the debt.