5 October 2007

Kenya: Nakumatt to Be Listed At NSE, Says Director

Nairobi — The Nakumatt supermarket chain is set to be listed at the Nairobi Stock Exchange, one of its directors has said.

Mr Thiagarajan Ramamurthy, the operations director, said Nakumatt would go public in June 2009 when its turnover is expected to have grossed Sh35 billion.

"It is important that we achieve a certain turnover target. We have already achieved about 150 per cent increase in the last three years," said the director. This year, he added, the supermarket realised a turnover of Sh20 billion and which it expects to boost further to about US$500 million between 2008 and 2009.

"That is the time we are planning to go public," he said adding that by the time the supermarket goes public, its branches will have increased to 50 from the current 19 with a workforce of 5,000 employees.

In the next one year, Mr Ramamurthy said, the company will expand its branch network to Nyeri, Nanyuki, Mombasa, Kakamega, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.

The supermarket chain, which started as a small-scale family business known as Nakuru Mattresses 20 years ago, employs 3,500 people.

Separately, Aeon Co Ltd, Japan's second-biggest retail group, said today that its first-half operating profit fell 18 per cent, hit by poor sales at its US apparel unit Talbots Inc.

For the six months ended on August 20, operating profit came in at 67.8 billion yen ($582 million), down from 82.33 billion yen in the same period a year earlier, the company said.

The firm, which runs a sprawling retail network including Jusco supermarkets, has been aggressively expanding its operations as it competes with Number 1 Seven & I Co Ltd to be the leader in Japan's retail industry. Earlier this year, Aeon paid some $500 million for stakes in ailing supermarket chain Daiei Inc and grocery operator Maruetsu Inc.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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