- On Tuesday, the chairman of hundreds of suppliers, who are owed billions of shillings in arrears by Nakumatt, Mr Joseph Mlay, revealed that Mr Manji was in talks with the giant retailer to take over the business in the country.
The Nakumatt Tanzania saga took a new twist yesterday as the company’s management distanced itself from reported negotiations with tycoon, Yusuf Manji.
On Tuesday, the chairman of hundreds of suppliers, who are owed billions of shillings in arrears by Nakumatt, Mr Joseph Mlay, revealed that Mr Manji was in talks with the giant retailer to take over the business in the country.
A representative of Mr Manji’s Quality Group Limited (QGL), Mr Monish Mohandas, confirmed to The Citizen that there had been talks between the tycoon and the Nakumatt management over a possible buyout for the retailer’s Tanzania operations.
But in an interesting turn of events, the assistant country manager for Nakumatt Supermarket in Tanzania, Mr Alfrick Milimo, said yesterday that there was nothing to that goal.
“I don’t know of such talks. There are no discussions between Nakumatt and Mr Manji…All I know is that as Nakumatt, we have a lot of internal meetings to find a lasting solution to challenges that we are going through,” he told The Citizen.
He said internal meetings centred on how to pay rent and re-open the business at its Mlimani City and Arusha outlets.
“We have no plan to sell the supermarket to anyone because we still have muscles to run the company. We only need to settle our differences with landlords,” he said.
He noted that the retailer was currently struggling to regain trust of its suppliers and landlords due to ongoing financial challenges in the company.
“In fact, rumours of Mr Manji showing interest in buying out Nakumatt are not new. They started two years ago after the closure of Uchumi Supermarket…There was a time Nakumatt wanted to rent in Quality Group’s Quality Centre Mall and that was how all this started. Otherwise, there has been nothing with regard to buyout plans,” he insisted.
In November last year, when Nakumatt Tanzania sold its 51 per cent of the stake to grow capital base, the rumours started to resurface.
“With suppliers losing hope in our operations, they hurriedly thought the company had finally been sold and that is how these things are coming through,” he said.