Mauritian multinational steps up Kenya expansion

A Naivas supermarket branch. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Mauritian conglomerate IBL Group is moving aggressively to grow into Kenya’s construction, agrochemicals, consumer goods distribution and reinsurance industries, adding to a string of acquisitions it is implementing in the local market.

The multinational plans to enter the local distribution of fast-moving consumer goods through its subsidiary BrandActiv.

It is also entering the agrochemicals sector through its subsidiary Blychem, reinsurance through Ellgeo Re and electrical and construction through CMH.

IBL last year acquired a minority stake in supermarket chain Naivas and is currently in the process of taking majority stakes in a solar firm and pharmaceutical distributor whose identities have not yet been disclosed.

BrandActiv is the distributor of major brands in food and beverages, personal care and frozen products including Heinz, Bic, Colgate, Ajax, and Cadbury among others.

“Building on its first inroad within the Indian Ocean Islands, [BrandActiv] is seeking to consolidate its presence in those markets through new partnerships, and also penetrate the Kenyan market,” IBL said in its latest annual report.

The shareholding in Naivas could help IBL to grow in the local market by leveraging the supermarket chain’s distribution network.

Naivas is the largest retailer in Kenya with 84 stores across the country.

The Mauritian conglomerate also recently established a local business targeting the reinsurance market where the established players include State-owned Kenya Re.

“With the opening of its Kenyan offices, Ellgeo Re plans to leverage its presence to acquire new clients in East Africa. A business development plan will be developed to promote our services in the region,” IBL said.

The multinational will enter the local agrochemicals business through Blychem and the construction and electrical market through CMH.

Blychem deals in crop protection and agriculture, industrial hygiene, irrigation and sheltered farming, pool chemicals and maintenance, and industrial water treatment while CMH operates in the electrical installations and construction business.

“In line with the group strategy, Blychem and CMH are exploring eventual options to take their first steps into Kenya,” IBL said.

Blychem will expand the multinational’s interest in the Kenyan agricultural sector, adding to its partial ownership of TransMara Sugar Company Limited.

IBL says its expansion in the local market comes after it established an office in Nairobi to scout for deals and understand the needs of Kenyan consumers.

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