Manu Chandaria has lost one of his top companies to the NCBA Bank. This is after NCBA placed Kaluworks Limited which is a company owned by Chandaria under receivership over a Sh. 4.3 billion debt.
Following the takeover, NCBA has appointed a receivership manager Pongangipalli Rao, to run the company in a bid to turn it around and recover the billions owed. “Notice is given that the above company (Kaluworks) was placed under administration on May 27, 2021 by the holder of a qualifying floating charge,” the receiver manager said in a Gazette Notice that was issued on Friday.
Problems facing Chandaria’s businesses started to emerge three years ago when lenders started scrambling to auction off attached properties to recover millions owed.
In November 2018, I&M Bank instructed Nairobi-based Keysian Auctioneers and debt collectors to attach a multimillion property in Nairobi that had been used to guarantee a loan for Kaluworks after the firm failed to honour its obligation to the bank. “Duly instructed by I&M Bank Limited the chargees to the above named property, (Forest View Flats, Ngara West) we shall sell by way of public auction for the recovery of $527,887 (about Sh. 53.6 million) and Sh. 233.9 million as at 25 August 2018, which amount continues to attract interest until payment in full,” one confidential letter had leaked.
Apparently, banks loaned the money to Kaluworks because Mr. Chandaria allegedly presented himself as the face of the company. Chandaria is the chairman of Comcraft Group, a conglomerate with multiple businesses across Africa and beyond of which Kaluworks is a member. The group produces steel, plastics and aluminum products in 45 countries.
His Kenyan stable also includes Mabati Rolling Mills. In 2014, Comcraft Group was estimated to be worth about Sh. 203 billion ($2 billion). The industrialist has also been a long-serving chairman of the Kaluworks Limited board of directors.