KENYA – Nakumatt Supermarkets has borrowed Sh500 million from local banks to finance the re-opening of its Westgate Shopping Mall outlet in Nairobi that was shut down nearly two years ago after a terrorist attack.
Atul Shah, the managing director of the regional retail chain, said Tuesday ahead of Saturday’s re-opening that the loan was meant to cover the cost of refurbishment of the branch which would have strained its cash flows if internally funded.
Mr Shah said Nakumatt will employ 250 staff compared to 210 who were working in the mall before the shopping complex was attacked by Somalia’s Al-Shabaab militia in September 2013.
At least 67 people died with billions of shillings lost by business owners who operated inside the premises.
“A lot of logistics were involved and it would have affected our revenue if funded through our savings,” said Mr Shah who however declined to name the financiers.
The MD said the re-opening heralds a new beginning for Nakumatt as it plans to open more outlets countrywide.
Nairobi governor Evans Kidero also attended the function. Westgate Mall is owned by Sony Holdings Ltd.
The attack on the mall was a big drawback for Nakumatt given it was one of its profitable outlets based at the prime location.