Kenya: Termination of Kenya-Uganda rail deal costs Egyptian firm Sh18.3bn

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The termination of the Kenya-Uganda railway concession has cost Egyptian investment firm Qalaa Holdings Sh18.3 billion, with the multinational saying it will soon dispose of all its investments in railways.

Kenya’s High Court in July last year ordered the termination of the concessionaire Rift Valley Railways’ contract at a time when Qalaa —the majority shareholder of the venture— was still scouting for a buyer of its 85 percent stake.

A month earlier, the Ugandan government had also issued a 90-day termination notice to RVR but rescinded the contract cancellation on November 22, 2017, to give the company one last opportunity to fulfil its obligations.

Qalaa, which still uses its previous name Citadel Capital in its corporate documents, invested in the Kenya-Uganda railway through its subsidiary KU Railways Holdings Limited (KURH).

“Consequently, Citadel Capital recognised an impairment with the entire carrying value of the assets related to KURT with an impairment of 3.15 billion Egyptian pounds (Sh18.2 billion) in its consolidated financial information for the period ended September 30, 2017,” the multinational said in a trading update.

The amount written off is equivalent to Qalaa’s share of RVR’s assets.

 “The board … decided in its meeting held on September 17, 2017, to divest from all the owned subsidiaries in railways sector by selling and/or dispensing and/or liquidating these subsidiaries and take all the required procedures to execute that as soon as possible,” Qalaa said.

Qalaa says it was unable to obtain financial and accounting information for KURH as of September, a move that saw its external auditor KPMG declare a qualified opinion on the multinational’s accounts.

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