KENYA – The New Kenya Cooperative Creameries (KCC), one of the leading dairy processors in Kenya is launching a low lactose milk product, an addition to its Gold Crown brand targeting lactose intolerant consumers.

The new milk aimed at promoting a healthy lifestyle comes in an orange pack, featuring its prominent crown logo, will enable lactose intolerant consumers to easily digest the milk sugar in which causes stomach discomfort, bloating and stomach upsets to them.

The launch comes in wake of fresh push for privatization of the dairy. Dairy investors in Central Kenya want the Kenyan government to let go of New KCC and hand it over to milk producers.

Mt Kenya Dairy Producers’ secretary George Kagwe said privatisation was stalled by some privately-owned milk processors who influenced policymakers to keep on postponing the programme.

Mr Kagwe proposed the sale be through dairy co-operative societies who should own 64 percent, the government retain 10 percent stake and the rest of the shares be put in the open market.

In April, the Kenyan government suspended its plans to privatise the state-owned dairy producer saying that it will now focus on capacity building of the dairy firm.

According to Peter Munya, Trade and Industry Cabinet Secretary, New KCC is a critical state investment that plays a critical role in controlling the market prices.

Despite being in the privatisation list for more than a decade now, Mr Munya said that the cabinet agreed to delay the process and instead focus on building its capacity.

“New KCC is a strategic government investment in the country and the cabinet did not find any good reason why it should be privatised at this stage,” Mr Munya said.

The cabinet secretary highlighted that the move will also play a critical role in protecting consumers against high costs of the commodity.

However, he noted that “we [the government] might consider to privatise it in the future” to a strategic investor once the dairy sector in the country has stabilised.’’

New KCC last valuation was in 2014 where it was estimated to be worth Sh4.8 billion.

The valuation report was prepared by Deloitte Consulting Ltd, Mboya and Wangongu Advocates, Mereka and Co Advocates, Clean Earth Limited and Regent Valuers International with Standard Investment Bank (SIB) the lead consultant.

The valuation was inclusive of the Sh200 million that the government used to revive New KCC in 2003.

According to the initial proposed privatisation plan, 34% of the New KCC stake was to be floated at the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) while farmers were to receive 42% stake.

In addition, the company employees would hold a 4% stake leaving the government in control of the remaining 20%.