Afia Juices owner buys water bottling plant from Kenblest

Businessman Kimani Rugendo has acquired the water bottling business of Thika-based bread maker Kenblest.

Mr Rugendo, the owner of Afia Juices manufacturer Kevian Kenya, says the acquisition is aimed at raising his stakes in the water bottling business.

“We have acquired the water bottling plant as new markets and opportunities emerge that can help strengthen our presence both in Kenya and in the global markets,” said Mr Rugendo in an interview.

He said they are in the final stages of concluding the deal that will see him take over the facility, the staff and some of the existing clients. The water bottling plant employed 80 staff.

Mr Rugendo did not disclose the cost of the acquisition and its financing. Kevian Kenya has benefited from funding by international financiers such as Germany’s DEG.

Already, Kevian Kenya has its own bottling plant and sells its water through the brand name “Mt Kenyan” that is processed in Thika where its main manufacturing plant is located.

Anju Shah, one of the directors at Kenblest Group, said on Wednesday that the company had decided dispose the facility after it failed to live to their market expectations, citing stiff competition from popular brands such as Keringet Water owned by Crown Beverages and Dasani of Coca-Cola.

“Water business in the local market is dominated by the established brands and sometimes it becomes very hard for new entrants to survive. We have been operating on losses and found it worth to close it down and think of another profitable venture,” said Mr Shah.

“Instead we will be looking at strengthening our maize milling factory and venturing into real estate to boost our revenue,” said Mr Shah.

The Kenblest water business was started after it acquired the assets of Kenya Taitex Mills, which was previously involved in weaving, dying and printing textiles. It would later be rebranded to Kifaru Industries Limited.