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Airtel losses hit Sh6bn amid audit questions

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Airtel Kenya’s losses doubled in 2020 to Sh5.9 billion even as its auditors raised the red flag on the company’s financial health after the telco’s cumulative losses rose to Sh77.41 billion.

Airtel also saw its net liability position widen further to Sh43.7 billion in the full year to March 2021, up from Sh37.78 billion as of March 2020, pointing to its insolvent position.

The firm posted its highest loss in history in the financial year ended March 31, 2021, having halved the loss to Sh2.78 billion in 2019, up from Sh5.8 billion in 2017, but losses accumulated over the years and an increasing debt load pushed it into a precarious financial position.

“These conditions, along with other matters… indicate the existence of a material uncertainty which may cast significant doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going concern,” warns Airtel’s auditors Deloitte.

“The directors acknowledge that the continued existence of the company as a going concern depends on the outcomes of various strategic measures that the directors continue to pursue to return the company to profitability and continued financial support from the company’s shareholders and bankers,” the note says.

Airtel’s borrowings in the 2020 financial year jumped to Sh9.23 billion, up from Sh6.83 billion in 2019. Its net assets in foreign currencies rose to Sh8.89 billion in 2020, up from Sh6.19 billion the previous year, while its net foreign currency liabilities stood at Sh56.17 billion up from Sh49.85 billion in 2019.

In 2020, Airtel Kenya picked up Sh2.18 billion in new loans from JP Morgan Bank but also had loans with HSBC-Mauritius (Sh1.64 billion), Citi Bank (Sh5.4 billion), and Sh1.7 billion in loan and overdrafts from Standard Chartered Bank.

It cleared its Sh1 billion loan from Stanbic Bank. Its net borrowings as at March 2021 stood at Sh61.28 billion, up from Sh53.19 billion the previous year.

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Kenya’s tourism revenue hit Sh146 billion in 2021

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Kenya’s tourism revenues had an increase of about Sh58 million in December 2021, compared with the same period in 2020, to reach Sh146 billion.

According to Najib Balala the Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, this increase was due to an increased number of tourists in 2021 by about 302,617 to reach a total of 870,465 tourists.

The sector earned Sh88.6 billion in 2020, when travel restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19 hit the tourism industry.

Before the coronavirus pandemic, the figure stood at Sh164 billion but the forecast in 2022 is higher.

The United States was the leading source market for tourists into the country having registered 136,981 arrivals ahead of Uganda 80,067 and Tanzania 74,051.

Other top source markets in the calendar year included the United Kingdom, China and India.

Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) meanwhile netted Ksh.1.5 million from park visits as a million Kenyans toured wildlife allied facilities again having fallen below 700,000 in 2020.

International arrivals are expected to top the one million mark again this year with the inbound receipts projected at ksh.172.9 billion.

“We will probably see a recovery by 2024 but not a full recovery as previously expected.

Success will be dependent on how we mitigate the Omicron variant now. So far, we have been resilient,” added CS Balala.

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UK firm to build a new city worth Sh29B next to Nairobi CBD

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Plans to upgrade Nairobi Central Railway Station have begun after Kenya made a deal with the United Kingdom to modernize the station.

January 18 the UK High Commissioner to Kenya shared design plans for the new railway station, terming it as one of her favourite projects in Kenya.

Atkins Global UK-based firm is behind the new Nairobi Central Railway Station design as well as the larger Railway City project which is expected to cost Sh29 billion.

“UK firm Atkins Global has been appointed to design Nairobi’s new Central Train Station and associated public realm, which will provide the centerpiece of Nairobi Railway City,” said UK’s Minister for Africa.

Railway City will take up the land surrounded by Haile Selassie Avenue, Uhuru Highway and Bunyala Road.

The new Railway City is expected to reduce congestion in the CBD and expand Kenya’s capital by building mixed-use commercial developments, hotels and intermodal facilities.

The project will be implemented in phases for 20 years, with the first phase expected to be complete by 2030.

Matatus currently operating around Kenya Railways Central Station will be removed by end of this month. This will facilitate works on Nairobi Railway City,” 

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KENHA Demolishes about 300 kiosks built on road reserve in Homa Bay.

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Kenya National Highways Authority demolished 300 kiosks to give way for the expansion of the road.

Local traders in Kendu Bay old Town, Karachuonyo Constituency, Homa Bay County have suffered heavy losses.

They demolished the kiosks because the traders were accused of encroaching the road reserve where they constructed their Kiosks for business activities.

The traders expressed concern that their business structures had been torn down without a word of warning from the authority.

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They asked the Homa Bay County government to intervene so they could find an alternative site at which to carry out their business activities.

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