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Bamburi eyes new cement brand to firm up its sales

Seddiq Hassani
Bamburi Cement chief executive officer Seddiq Hassani, sales director Kanyi Gitonga, and innovation and technical services manager Fidelis Sakwa during the launch of the new cement brand in Nairobi February 19, 2020. PHOTO | The product is best suited for single storey constructions. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU 

Bamburi Cement Wednesday launched a low cost cement targeted at single storey structures in its fresh bid to grow market share.

The cement, called ‘Bamburi Fundi,’ will mainly be used for block laying, repair works as well as internal and external plastering.

A 50 kilogramme bag of Bamburi Fundi will retail at about Sh540 in Nairobi, which is lower than the Sh560 and Sh610 paid for Bamburi Tembo or Bamburi Nguvu in the capital.

Both Tembo and Nguvu are for works that require stronger structural frame like multi-stored buildings and pillars.

Bamburi Cement has in recent years lost market share to privately-owned Savannah Cement and National Cement.

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Managing Director Saddiq Hassani said plastering works take up to 40 percent of cement consumed in construction, adding that ‘Bamburi Fundi will lower the cost of production.

“The newest product will meet the emerging needs of customers in having affordable cement in construction. The launch is driven by clear demand for masonry-only cement,” said Mr Hassani.

The launch deepens the range of cement types offered by the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm that has been in Kenya since 1954. It is expected to support Bamburi’s earnings at a time cement consumption has declined and stiff competition has depressed prices given the many lower and middle level construction works.

Bamburi’s half year sales to June 2019 grew marginally by 0.54 percent to Sh18.66 billion to keep net profits flat at Sh393 million. This was on account of contracted cement market in Kenya.

“The high debt in the country has seen key government projects like SGR and Mombasa- Nairobi highway being frozen or scaled down. This has had an impact,” said Mr Hassani.

Outlook

Bamburi’s export market was also hurt by closure of the Uganda-Rwanda border, which made Rwanda market inaccessible in the six months to June.

However, sales director Kanyi Gitonga said there has been inroads in Zanzibar, Pemba, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan, brightening the outlook.

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