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KenolKobil biggest market share gainer in first three months

KenolKobil managing director David Ohana. PHOTO | FILE
KenolKobil managing director David Ohana. PHOTO | FILE 

Oil marketer KenolKobil has emerged as the biggest market share gainer in the first three months of this year, cutting back on the lead held by its main competitors Total Kenya and Shell.

KenolKobil’s market share as of March was 15.7 per cent, representing an increase of three percentage points, according to data released by the Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA).

Industry leader Total saw its market share remain stagnant at the 18.5 per cent it controlled as at the end of last year while second-placed Shell, which trades as Vivo Energy, gained 1.5 percentage points to close at 17.6 per cent market share.

“All our segments performed strongly and that is why we are gaining market share from our competitors,” said KenolKobil managing director David Ohana.

“We are getting more contracts and as a consequence a lot more volumes are being delivered to our service stations and also power plants. We are now the biggest supplier of jet fuel in the country.”

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The biggest loser during the period was Gulf Energy, a small oil marketer currently placed fourth in the national market share rankings.

In the full year to December, the firm more than doubled its market share to 8.8 per cent. The latest rankings, however, show that the performance has reversed as it fell to 6.4 per cent as at March this year.

During the period under review, total sales of products such as diesel, petrol, bitumen, LPG and kerosene, among others, stood at 1.45 million cubic metres, a 7.4 per cent year-on-year growth.

Kenya’s top-three oil market rivals are competing on customer convenience and wider distribution network to grow sales, with some also running promotions and small discounts on their loyalty cards.

A wider footprint is critical in driving sales of products such as diesel, petroleum and kerosene to motorists and households.

The bigger oil marketers have more retail outlets than their smaller rivals.

“Low oil prices have contributed to increased fuel consumption in Kenya and the East African Community,” Wanjiku Manyara, PIEA general manager, said in the association’s latest industry magazine. “Oil marketing companies have been strategically increasing and expanding their network as well as diversifying their specialty segments.”

KenolKobil in February announced it had completed the sale of its Tanzania business, which had 17 service stations, as well as a fuel depot in Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Mr Ohana says that the “rationalisation of our business” by getting rid of non-performing units has allowed them to concentrate on beefing up Kenya as its operational hub.

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