Billionaire Manu Chandaria regains control of seized company

The company owed about Sh12 billion in debt by the time it was placed under receivership

Kenyan born businessman Dr. Manu Chandaria, Chair and CEO of Comcraft Group

Billionaire Manu Chandaria’s Comcraft Group has regained control of a steel manufacturing plant that had been placed under receivership over unpaid debts.

The company, Kaluworks, owed about Sh12 billion in debt by the time it was placed under the control of receiver manager Pongangipalli Rao.

According to documents recently filed in court, the company’s control has reverted to the shareholders after two banks wrote off loans worth Sh6.6 billion.

The two banks, NCBA and Co-operative Bank chose to cut their losses and accept payments of Sh580 million and Sh628.4 million respectively.

NCBA wrote off Sh88% of its loan while Co-op wrote off 55% of its loan.

Shareholders will then inject Sh150 million to try and turn around the business after regaining control of the firm.

According to the receiver manager, the two banks were hesitant to inject an additional Sh750 million in capital to revive the business, opting to accept the new terms.

Other financial institutions that are owed money include I&M Bank, Bank of Baroda and Sanlam Kenya which also had to write off the loan.

Chandaria has since retired from active management of his Comcraft Group.

In a recent interview, he revealed how he has been spending his retirement years now that he is 93 years old.

Chandaria said that he has totally disconnected from his business empire and lets his able apprentices run the show.

The businessman retired at 90 and now only focuses on his family and charitable work in his foundation as well helping other worthy causes.

Businesswise, I have retired from everything. If someone asks me what is happening in Comcraft Group, Kaluworks or Mabati, I would not answer,” he told the Standard.

Unless you detach completely - even from that which you have been running for these many years - you will always be thinking about it and will not be in retirement,” the businessman added.

Chandaria still has to wake up at 6:00 a.m. but nowadays the businessman doesn’t have to go through the trouble of preparing to start work at 9:30 a.m, instead takes his coffee between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

He also receives guests from time to time for discussions on social impact.

Even his proteges in business know not to bother Chandaria with financials and balance sheets.

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