Staff at tyre distributor Sameer Africa are a worried lot as the company intends to let go over 50 employees starting February 1.
The firm has continued to struggle even after its change of strategy in 2016 when it stopped local manufacturing of its key tyre brand Yana and opted to outsource to Asia.
Sameer now intends to close various tyre centres and offices across Kenya and release employees in batches between February 1 and end of April.
“Arising from the foregoing, the board of directors has resolved to restructure the company further by aligning the company operations to become more of a trading and distributorship outfit,” acting managing director Peter Gitonga said in a notice to Nairobi County labour office.
“It is therefore contemplated that approximately 52 employees drawn from both management and unionisable cadres will have their employment contracts terminated.”
Sameer group head count has been declining in the recent years, shrinking by 120 from 288 staff in 2017 to 168 at the end of 2018.
In August 2019, the firm sacked its CEO Simon Ngigi. This was less than a year after he was appointed in October 2018.
In the latest downsizing efforts, the firm’s Chairman Erastus Mwongera confirmed the notice:
“We have been restructuring since we changed the business model from manufacturing to retail. This comes with adjustments,” said Mr Mwongera.
Sameer widened its net loss 15.8 times to Sh182.8 million in the first six months of 2019, with stock-outs and counterfeit products complicating its recovery effort.
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