(171024) --NAIROBI, Oct. 24, 2017 (Xinhua) -- A vendor displays fruits for sale at Kawangware market in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Oct. 23, 2017. Due to the high rate of unemployment in Kenya, most youths have opted to start their own small businesses to sustain their daily needs. Most Kenyan youths are grappling with lack of white collar jobs, and the few who are lucky to get the jobs are unable to sustain themselves due to the high rate of inflation. (Xinhua/Crystal)

INTERNATIONAL - Kenya's Nakumatt has filed for administration after a slew of petitions from creditors that are owed millions of dollars by a company that started life more than 25 years ago as a small Rift Valley bed shop and became East Africa’s biggest supermarket chain. 

One source close to the company yesterday said that Nakumatt, whose flagship Nairobi store was destroyed in the 2013 Westgate attack by Somali militants, said it owed creditors, including landlords and suppliers, as much as 20 billion shillings (R2.67bn). 

In January, the managing director of the chain, Atul Shah, said the debt then stood at $150million (R2.11bn). By comparison, the privately-owned company, which employs around 4 000 people, had assets of 2bn shillings, the source said. 

Nakumatt’s main rivals are local unlisted firms and French retailer Carrefour, which entered the Kenyan market last year. More and more Nakumatt creditors have gone to court in recent months seeking to wind up the business due to non-payment of debts. A group of 19 landlords who have rented out space to Nakumatt outlets have sued the company over rent arrears of 600 million shillings, the Business Daily newspaper reported.