KENYA – Mauritian conglomerate IBL Group is moving aggressively to cement its presence in Kenya’s agrochemicals, consumer goods distribution, and other sectors a few months after acquiring a minority stake in supermarket chain Naivas, the largest retailer in Kenya with 84 stores across the country.

The multinational plans to enter the local distribution of fast-moving consumer goods through its subsidiary BrandActiv.

BrandActiv is the distributor of major brands in food and beverages, personal care, and frozen products, including Heinz, Bic, Colgate, Ajax, and Cadbury.

Indeed, the shareholding in Naivas could aid IBL’s ambition to grow in the local market by leveraging the supermarket chain’s distribution network.

“Building on its first inroad within the Indian Ocean Islands, [BrandActiv] is seeking to consolidate its presence in those markets through new partnerships, and also penetrate the Kenyan market,” IBL said in its latest annual report.

In addition, the multinational plans to enter the local agrochemicals business through Blychem, a company that deals in crop protection and agriculture, industrial hygiene, irrigation and sheltered farming, pool chemicals and maintenance, and industrial water treatment.

Blychem will in turn expand the conglomerate’s interest in the Kenyan agricultural sector, adding to its partial ownership of TransMara Sugar Company Limited.

In August 2022, Mauritian multinational Alteo, an umbrella that constitutes 27.64% shares of IBL Ltd, increased its stake in Transmara Sugar Company Limited from 51 percent to 69.2 percent for Sh973 million (US$8.2 million).

The multinational currently holds its stake in the Kilgoris-based miller through a cascade of two investment vehicles — Sucrière des Mascareignes Limited and Transmara Investment Limited.

As part of a proposed restructuring of the ownership structure of the miller, IBL and CIEL Agro Limited, another Mauritian conglomerate in the umbrella of Alteo, have started transferring the ownership of Transmara Sugar from their subsidiary Alteo into their direct control.

Transmara Sugar, which was established in 2011, produced a total of 587,697 tonnes in the nine months to September 2022, marking an 11 percent growth from 528,391 tonnes recorded in the same period a year earlier.

Both CIEL Agro Limited and IBL Ltd, now want to move the Kenya and Tanzania sugar production operations from the umbrella of Alteo and into their direct control under a new investment vehicle known as Miwa Sugar Limited, which was incorporated earlier last year.

IBL said its expansion in the local market comes after it established an office in Nairobi to scout for deals and understand the needs of Kenyan consumers.

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