Sale of local cement plant suspended to give talks a chance

The auctioning of a cement plant in Kigali was postponed yesterday, allowing more time for talks between the involved parties as they seek to find amicable solution to end the longstanding feud.

The plant being auctioned belongs to Kigali Cement Company (KCC) – a subsidiary of Kenya’s Cement manufacturer – Athi River Mining (ARM) Cement Ltd.

It is being auctioned to pay off Rwf600 million it owes to Rwanda Enterprise Investment Company (REIC). REIC has also been a shareholder in Kigali Cement since 2008.

Potential buyers gathered at the plant’s premises in Gitikinyoni on Tuesday morning to participate in the competitive bidding. They were later told that the auctioning had been postponed to an unspecified date.

Aloys Bizimana, the Court Bailiff in charge of the auction, told The New Times that Kigali Cement Company and Rwanda Enterprise Investment Company had agreed to hold talks to find the best way out.

Talks are now underway between both parties.

He said the auction of the cement plant can resume depending on what has been agreed by the involved parties.

“We can postpone one, two or three times but we cannot continue [to postpone the auction] forever. We have our way of doing this in line with the law. If one is willing to pay [the debt] or if both parties are willing to hold talks over their case, we cannot refuse it. What is important is that the case gets closed successfully with respect to the law,” said Bizimana.

According to Kigali Professional Bailiffs Association, Kigali Cement plant has a market value of Rwf1,270,889,000. However, the only bid for the plant in the past auction was Rwf100 million, which was rejected.

“You cannot auction a property worth Rwf1 billion for Rwf50,000, for instance, to avoid frustration and disappointing the owner. You continue to do your best until you get the best possible offer,” he added.

Now that the auction for the cement plant has been adjourned twice, there is a possibility that the property will be given to the higest bidder if talks collapse.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

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