Govt. support could have saved Softa, businessman Peter Kuguru says


Govt. support could have saved Softa, businessman Peter Kuguru says

Businessman Peter Kuguru has decried the lack of government support that has seen him put up the sale of his soda manufacturing plant.

After two decades in operation, Mr Kuguru has finally thrown in the towel after high cost of operations and lack of capital made the business unsustainable.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, the businessman however said the lack of government support for local industries is worrying, adding that policies need to be put in place to support local entrepreneurs.

“When you’re competing with a multinational who gets advantage for cheaper money to run his business, I cannot be able to compete. Many countries cannot allow local industries to close, that what Trump (US President elect Donald Trump) is talking about in America,” Mr Kuguru said.

Since starting its operations in the late 90’s Softa sodas gained traction with its captivating banner of ‘Freedom of Choice’.

At the time the local soda manufacturer offered an alternative to a market dominated by US soft drink giant Coca Cola.

At its peak, the production plant located in industrial area could produce 20 thousand crates of soda per hour.

Fast forward to 2016, and the machines lie idle with only a handful of employees keeping watch.

Mr Kuguru said efforts to get a strategic partner to invest in the business hit a brick wall, forcing the decision to shut down and sell the machinery.

“Many of the people we talked to are asking us to re invest 60 percent and they come with 40 percent. But we don’t want to invest again as a company and as a family. We are looking for someone to come in with more capital that can bring in more business that makes an investment return that makes sense,” he said.

According to Mr Kuguru the business required at least Sh500 million to stay afloat.

The businessman has now turned his attention to selling the assets leaving him space which could be converted into storage space to generate revenue.

“We are not looking at market price for this plant because we want to get rid of it. Once you make decision to close a plant, that plant is almost worth nil,” Mr Kuguru stressed.

Besides making soda, the businessman also diversified into diaper and sanitary pads production to boost income.

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Story By Patrick Igunza
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