Asset leasing company RentCo Africa is finally venturing off the big government contracts into the private corporate space as it now has signed a Ksh 600 million farm equipment deal with Rai family-owned West Kenya Sugar Company.
The firm which is best known for the Subaru cars it leased to National Police Service, seems to have found new friends in Rai Group which is known to be boosting its manufacturing credentials and are also linked to the first family.
Previously, RentCo owner Robert Nyasimi has been profiled as Deputy President William Ruto leaning businessman with most of the government tenders he was awarded now going to his competitors who are viewed as not so much pro-DP William Ruto.
Known to be street smart, Robert Nyasimi seems to have reinvented himself and is now going into business with families which enjoys a good relationship with “The System.”
RentCo has revealed that the machinery deal will see it lease to West Kenya Sugar Company heavy-duty prime movers, lorries, tractors, loaders and other heavy equipment as the sugar milling firm boost haulage and production capacity.
West Kenya Sugar Company is using the government and other political links to cut down on competition in the sector as it invests in this sector. The company has been hauling Sugar Cane from as far as Muhoroni, creating a shortage for firms like Chemelil and Kibos Sugar factories in the area.
Rai Group has boosted production, moving away from importation it has done for so long, sometimes completely destroying the market for local sugar-cane farmers. The family was accused by MPs in 2018 of flooding the market with imported sugar from Brazil.
Rai Group currently controls almost 50 per cent of the sugar market through the ownership of Sukari Industries (11 percent), West Kenya Sugar Company (29 per cent) and OlePito. Private millers like Kakamega based Butali Sugar and West Kenya Sugar are the main players in the sector.
Government-owned millers like Chemelil, Mumias, South Nyanza (SONY) and Muhoroni are either limping or in their death beds.
Private players in the sector see Rai Group which has also ventured into cement production as a cog and not a genuine player in the sector.
RentCo has been variously accused of corruptly obtaining some of its businesses, especially in the National Police Service and the collapsed Uchumi supermarkets.
Known to roll big and even host parties in exotic destinations celebrating the government businesses, RentCo is said to be struggling to stay afloat as the crackdown on William Ruto linked businesses continues. The company was recently forced to move out of its office space in Upper Hill for a more modest offering in South B.