Kenya’s Bluebird Aviation remains shrouded in bewilderment and tumultuous discord among shareholders!

On Wednesday May 10, 2023, the Kenya High Court fell into confusion as it ordered a fresh valuation of charter carrier Bluebird Aviation (Kenya) (BBZ, Nairobi Wilson). The dispute between shareholders over the buy-out of the company has caused a high degree of perplexity.

According to reports from Standard Media in Nairobi, Commercial Court division Judge Njoki Mwangi has declared the previously tabled valuation report invalid due to a lack of transparency.

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The report valued founder Yusuf  Abdi Adan’s shares at KES320 million Kenyan shillings (USD2.3 million) but Judge Mwangi has now set aside the report and demanded transparency and independence in the valuation process.

The airline was founded in 1992 and initially focused on transporting shipments of miraa or khat to Somalia, a stimulant plant native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. However, shareholder conflicts have emerged, leading Yusuf to challenge the valuation report for being speculative.

Despite the report’s assessment of the carrier’s assets, reviewed balance sheets, and historical performance over the preceding three years, Yusuf insists that audited financial statements for the financial years from 2017 to 2021 were not provided as backup.

As a result, the High Court has directed the four parties involved to appoint a new valuer. If the new valuation report finds the airline’s value to be less than the previous report, the airline will be refunded from the amount already held in the judiciary account. However, if the new valuation finds the airline’s value to be more, the airline will have just seven days to top up the difference.

The high degree of burstiness and perplexity has caused much confusion, with the sum held in court to be released to the applicant’s (Yusuf’s) advocate within seven days of filing the new valuation report in court. Yusuf will bear the cost of the new valuation.

Bluebird Aviation operates a fleet of ten aircraft, mostly leased. The fleet includes four DHC-8-100s, one DHC-8-Q400, three DHC-8-Q400(PF) freighters, and two F50s, according to the ch-aviation fleets advanced module.

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