Crown Paints warns of 7pc rise in product prices over costly inputs

Crown Paints Group CEO Rakesh Rao. photo | salaton njau | nmg
Crown Paints Group CEO Rakesh Rao. photo | salaton njau | nmg 

Paint prices could go up between five and seven per cent this year, listed paint manufacturer Crown Paints Kenya has warned, citing rising prices of key raw materials.

Crown Paints Kenya Group chief executive officer Rakesh Rao, in a press briefing on Friday, said the paint maker could be forced to increase the price of its premium brands following an global rise in input costs, primarily titanium dioxide (TiO2).

Mr Rao said the hike in TiO2 prices, has been the result of the shutdown of large manufacturing plants globally.

“It’s a global impact. We used to buy titanium oxide at $2,000 (Sh205,549.85) per tonne, now we are buying at $3,600 (369,989.72) per tonne. We have no option but probably to increase the prices,” he said.

He however played down the hike, adding manufacturers were under pressure to absorb the costs.

“We want people to understand there will be incremental increase in price in coming years and then we will not have a problem,” he said.

The price hike is expected to only impact its high-end products where titanium oxide is a key raw material.

Low-end focus

Should Crown Paints Kenya effect the increase, the cost of its premium emulsion brand (Crown Permacote Ultra Guard), for instance, which costs Sh14,595 for 20 litres, will go up by Sh1,021.

Similarly, each four-litre container of the same brand, which retails at Sh2,919, will go up by Sh204.3. A litre, now costing Sh893, will rise by Sh62.

Mr Rao said the company is revamping it focus on the low-end segment of paint market

The firm claims 60 per cent of market-share among the premium brands and 24 per cent of the low-end segment.

“We are launching a new economy range for low-cost housing sectors, we have done a market survey the response is very positive. We are also eyeing the industrial and automotive sectors,” said Mr Rao.

“We want to raise our market share in the high-end segment to 65 per cent and 35 per cent in the premium segment in a year.”

He said the company is eyeing double digit growth in 2018 on the back of improved political stability.