The steering committee in Rwanda Development Board (RDB) responsible for the sale of two state-owned tea factories refuted claims that Mac Group Ltd pulled out in the bidding process because of inadequate information.
Mac Group, which has businesses in East Africa and Indian Ocean, was among 13 companies that had expressed interest in investing in Rwanda’s tea sector.
According to media reports, the Tanzania-based consortium said it pulled out of the bidding process because the information provided by Rwandan authorities about the two factories was inadequate to enable it make a decision on the acquisition.
Rwanda is selling off 65 percent of Kitabi tea factory which is located in Nyamagabe district, Southern Province and 45 percent of Gisakura tea factory in Nyamasheke district, Western Province.
Joseph Akilimali, Director of Public Asset Transfer (former privatization secretariat) in RDB said their data room has detailed information about the factories and the whole tea sector. Akilimali is also a steering committee member.
He said that they also provided bidders with different laws including tax laws and the bidding document had a date of bidders’ conference that was supposed to be a question and answers session.
“Thereafter investors toured the sites with enough information,” he said.
According to RDB, Mac Group did not attend the bidders’ conference nor did come for the site tour.
Akilimali said that until the deadline to submit their financial and technical proposals they had not shown up, something that gave an impression that they were not interested.
Alex Matabaro, another steering committee member said that in his telephone conversation with Mac Group officials, the company informed the committee that it was expensive to come to Rwanda to visit the site and get more information.
“How can some one who is bidding for a factory worth $2.5 million say it is expensive to come to Kigali for detailed information?” Akilimali questioned.
He added that the investor paid $500 non refundable to buy the bidding document and the documents were sent electronically.
On acquisition of the bidding document, investors were requested to come in the country for more information about the factories and visit the sites.
RDB says that Mac Group was the only one that did not attend the bidder’s conference while other investors from India, United Kingdom attended.
According to the steering committee, evaluation is still ongoing to identify the best bidder.