PLANS to sell off the financially crippled Sorwatom will be finalized next week, according to the Managing Director of Access bank, Jean-Claude Karayenzi.
Karayenzi said that Access, which is the caretaker of Sorwatom, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Dillux and other negotiations on whether the investor is to take over liabilities are to be finalized next week.
The company which fell in the hands of Access bank after failing to pay back a loan of Rwf900m it had acquired to rescue its self from the financial hook, will watch a take over of management by Dillux fund from in Nairobi Kenya.
Dillux fund is a consortium investment fund from private investors and various organizations with a target of promoting investments in agro industry.
“We as a bank are not interested in running the factory, what we need is to recover our money and also keep the factory running for our farmers to benefit from their tomato farming”, he said.
He noted that the factory has the potential to thrive in business and make bigger turnovers but have been strained by management issues and poor marketing strategies which he noted are faced by many industries.
“We decided to put in more Rwf300 m loan in may this year to pay off farmers, worker’s salaries and other expenditures because we considered the stock at the factory is enough to pay it off”, he added.
Farmers took to the streets early this year protesting Sorwatom’s failure to pay for their tomatoes supplied to the factory, an action that prompted the bank to take over and pay all farmers and workers’ arrears.
“Our priority as government is to see the factory operating, be able to sustain the market demand and also do value addition for export”, the minister of trade and industry Francois Kanimba while visiting a factory yesterday.
The factory is able to produce 8000 cartons of tomato sauce in a month indicating a 25 percent of the market demand.
Kanimba said that there is need for the factory to build more confidence in farmers to produce more tomatoes to feed the factory to meet the current demand of tomato sauce.
Vip Kumal strategic advisor Dillux fund said that the factory has a lot of potential to satisfy the local demand and also export in the East African region, a thing he said is an opportunity to invest in “We want to invest in plant efficiency and also put in more working capital to advance commitments to farmers”, he said.