Copia Global Lays Off Over 1000 Employees

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  • Posted by: Evans Asare
Copia Global Lays Off Over 1,000 Employees Amid Financial Turmoil

Copia Global lays off over 1000 employees amid financial turmoil. Copia Global, a prominent B2C e-commerce platform in Kenya, has laid off at least 1,060 employees, signaling potential challenges in sustaining operations. This move comes two weeks after an internal memo revealed the company’s struggles to meet payroll obligations.

Copia Global’s CEO, Tim Steel, and administrators appointed last week to oversee the company’s affairs held a 20-minute meeting with staff. During the meeting, employees were instructed to return company property, including laptops and tablets, and sign their termination letters.

While Tim Steel declined to comment further, he assured employees that new information would be provided on Friday. However, the administrators have yet to specify a timeframe for the payment of one-month’s salary and other benefits, such as accrued unpaid leave days, as mandated by Kenyan labor laws.

This lack of clarity has raised concerns among employees, especially in light of the recent delay in May salaries, which were only paid this week. Two employees expressed their reluctance to sign termination letters until Copia clarifies the payment schedule for their compensation and benefits.

According to an ex-employee, Copia began facing business difficulties in 2022, leading to a scaling back of operations, including exiting Uganda barely two years after launching and laying off 700 employees. On Tuesday, the company stopped taking orders from six key locations in Kenya, likely to cut expenditure, and asked employees in affected markets to take leave.

Read also: MTN and Cloudflare partner to elevate Africa’s cybersecurity landscape.

On May 16, in a leaked internal memo, Copia warned employees about the possibility of either folding up or restructuring the business by laying off 1060 employees.

Despite the layoffs, administrators communicated in termination letters on Friday that they aim to continue the business and reduce operational costs while seeking to raise new capital. Copia appointed Makenzi Muthusi and Julius Ngonga of KPMG as joint administrators on May 24.

While Copia expressed potential employment opportunities for the affected employees, signaling the administrators’ commitment to turning around the ailing e-commerce giant, concerns remain about how the new management will convince investors to inject fresh capital after similar efforts collapsed in early May.

Copia Global, founded by Tracey Turner and Jonathan Lewis in 2013, allowed retailers in rural and peri-urban areas to restock essential goods using USSD or a mobile app. The company received $123 million in venture capital funding but has struggled to achieve profitability, joining a growing list of firms that have received investor goodwill but faced challenges in sustaining operations.

Author: Evans Asare

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