Flame Tree buys Thika-based jelly brand

Flame Tree Group CEO Heril Bangera. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG
Flame Tree Group CEO Heril Bangera. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

Flame Tree Group #ticker:FTGH has bought out a Thika-based petroleum jelly brand, marking its fifth acquisition since it was listed on the Nairobi bourse in 2014.

The manufacturing firm acquired the brand from Shethia Industrial Chemicals for an undisclosed amount.

The Competition Authority of Kenya (CAK) has given its approval for the acquisition of Sylva petroleum jelly, saying that the deal would have no impact on competition and that the amounts involved were too low to require regulatory oversight.

Flame Tree Group chief executive Heril Bangera in an interview Tuesday said Sylva is predominantly distributed in the Western Kenya market, but that the firm plans to roll it out nationally.

“It fits in well with what we do… and it has potential to move across the country,” he said.

Besides acquiring the brand, Mr Bangera said, the Flame Tree Group is not buying any other segment of Shethia’s business. Suraj Shah, former managing director of Shethia Industrial Chemicals, has also joined Flame Tree Group to drive growth of the brand.

Sylva joins a stable of other cosmetic brands under Flame Tree Group, which include the Zoe line of products (petroleum jelly, glycerin and body lotion) and the Alana brand of products (shampoos, body lotions and conditioners).

The acquisition of the brand also fits an expansionary trend for Flame Tree Group, listed on the Nairobi bourse under the Growth and Enterprise Market Segment.

Since the company was listed in 2014, Flame Tree Group has closed a number of acquisition deals including the 2016 buy-out of Suzie Beauty, a homegrown make-up brand and the acquisition of Chirag Kenya, a spices manufacturer. 

The company also acquired the haircare brands of Beauty Plus Trading East Africa in 2015.

Flame Tree Group, which also manufactures water tanks and snacks, is also in the process of acquiring PolyPlay, which produces plastic toys and playground equipment. Mr Bangera said that the deal to buy PolyPlay is in its last stages and will be concluded soon.