PZ Cussons, the UK-based personal and homecare conglomerate, is offloading the Kenyan Ushindi soap brand to Mombasa-based manufacturer Pwani Oil Products.
WHO: Ushindi is a multipurpose soap for both personal and home care use in the African market.
Ramesh Kanji Malde, together with his brothers, Anil and Naresh Malde, began Pwani Oil Company in 1981 focused on the production of coconut oil in Mombasa, Kenya. The operations expanded at the Jomvu Pwani Oil Products factory with corn and sunflower manufacturing before settling for palm oil refining in 1985. The business also owns a range of skincare and soaps like Sawa, Diva Glycerine, and Detrex.
Founded in 1879, UK-based PZ Cussons has grown into a leading consumer brand operating in four categories: personal care and beauty, home care, food and nutrition, and electrical. PZ Cussons Beauty was created in 2010 through combining four acquired beauty brands: St.Tropez, Charles Worthington, Sanctuary, and Fudge Professional, creating best-in-class and affordable products in the sunless tanning, haircare, and spa-at-home markets.
WHY: The sale is part of a wider trend of multinationals exiting the Kenyan market as a result of local competition focused on control of the local market by increasing consumer choices and lowering of prices. The Standard reported high production costs in Kenya have caused Reckitt Benckiser, Procter & Gamble, Bridgestone, Colgate-Palmolive, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever to relocate or restructure operations, opting to serve the local market by importing from low-cost manufacturing areas such as Egypt. Additionally, other countries in the region, such as Tanzania and Uganda, which used to import Kenyan-made soaps, have developed their own industries or have begun importing from countries such as China.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: Pwani Commercial Director Rajul Malde told the Business Daily that the firm will, following the purchase, now upscale the production and distribution of the Ushindi line of products, which includes bar soaps and laundry detergents.
“We will boost the Ushindi product portfolio and improve its distribution and availability across the country,” Mr. Malde said.
- PZ Cussons has sold its Ushindi soap brand to Pwani Oil for Sh107 million ($1 million).
- The transaction has been cleared by Kenya’s Competition Authority and covers the brand and manufacturing equipment.
- Two years ago, Pwani Oil announced the acquisition of Rainbow detergent soap brand from Match Masters as it sought to grow its market share in the fast-growing segment.
- Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch conglomerate, also offloaded some of its brands including Cowboy, Kimbo, Veebol, and Tiger to Bidco as local companies begin to gain an edge in the market.
- PZ Cussons has been doing business in Africa for more than a century.
Photo: via Ushindi