Pre Markets: Uchumi CEO Resigns, Markets Down

The chief executive officer of Kenya’s Uchumi Supermarkets Julius Kipng‘etich, who was hired to revive the loss-making retailer, has resigned, the company said.

The troubles at Uchumi, and the implosion of privately held Nakumatt, have opened the door to foreign chains such as France’s Carrefour to operate franchises.

The retailer’s board of directors said the CEO had decided to leave to pursue personal interests. Kipng‘etich, who has a reputation as a turnaround specialist, was hired at a time the chain had reported large financial losses.

On the Nairobi Securities Exchange, where the company is primarily listed (UCHM), the share price fell 5.81% to close at KES 4.05. The counter traded 450,500 shares for a turnover of KES 1.85 million.

However, the Uchumi share price was unchanged in Kigali and Dar es Salaam at RWf 104 and TZS 80 respectively. On the Uganda Securities Exchange, the company’s share price went up 4.7% to close at UGX 151.32.

Of the four East African stock exchanges, the NSE recorded the only positive growth in its benchmark index. The NSEI went up 0.19%, despite the NSE20 going down 0.48%. The All Share Indices of Rwanda and Tanzania fell 0.23% and 0.57% respectively.

The USE ALSI however went up 0.30% to close at 1,793.52.

For the second consecutive day, Umeme (UMEM) dominated market activity. The counter moved 1.68 million shares to record a turnover of UGX 673.9 million. The company’s share price remained unchanged at UGX 400.

The Ugandan shilling was stable on Wednesday and was expected to gain ground, helped by Bank of Uganda mopping up excess liquidity in the money markets, traders said.

At 1246 EAT commercial banks quoted the shilling at 3,620/3,630, same level as Tuesday’s close. The central bank planned to remove an unspecified amount of excess liquidity at 1400 EAT on Tuesday.