Aggressive marketing coupled with branding campaigns by paint companies seeking to grow their market share has also contributed to the success of the industry which is currently dominated by a handful of companies.
These paint giants, which continue to add colour to the Kenyan real estate, include Crown Paints, Basco Paints, Sadolin Paints, Solai Paints and Nasib Ltd.
Each of these companies offers its own specialized products with some offering extra services such as professional assistance and training.
Crown Paints, also known as Crown Berger was formed in 1958. It is the market leader in the Kenya paint industry with an annual turnover of about Sh6.2 billion and is the only paint company listed in the Nairobi Securities Exchange.
Crown controls an estimated 65 per cent of the Kenyan market. The company is well established with showrooms and depots in Nairobi, Kisumu, Mombasa and Nakuru. It has also ventured into Uganda and Tanzania while plans are in place for South Sudan and Ethiopia. Its Ugandan brand, Regal Paints, is currently ranked second in the country.
Basco Paints holds the prestigious Superbrand East Africa status and offers over 7,000 hues to choose from, the broadest range across the region. Its products are widely distributed in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda South Sudan and the DRC. The company also trains, examines and certifies painters as part of its corporate social responsibility.
Sadolin Paints East Africa started in 1959 as a subsidiary of Sadolin and Holmblad of Denmark. However, in the 1980s Sadolin Paints (E.A.) Ltd.’s new owners signed a new long term trademark and technical agreement with Sadolin Denmark’s new parent company Akzo Nobel which gives the local company access to international technology in the sector. The company specializes in the industrial and automotive segments of the paint industry.
Solai Paints Ltd is a wholly Kenyan owned paint manufacturing and distributing company started back in 1990. The company mainly focuses on the development and manufacture of finishing products such as paints, vanishes, and thinners among others. Apart from Nairobi where the company headquarters are located, the company has expanded its operations to other major towns across the country as well as three East African Countries.
Nasib Industrial Products Ltd is the manufacturer of Glory brand of paints. Established in 1992, the company has over the years become a significant player in the local paint industry through production and supply of surface coatings for the competitive market. Its range of products include automotive and decorative paints, thinners, primers, wood finishes and adhesives among others.
In recent years the industry has shifted focus to eco-friendly products which have a low volatile organic compounds (VOC) content.
Basco Paints has emerged as an innovation powerhouse having pioneered the production of eco-friendly emulsion paints, antibacterial paints and the lead-free range of paints.
The antibacterial paint, also being produced by Crown Paints Ltd., reduces the risk of cross-contamination, infections and illness by preventing the buildup of bacteria and mould which pose a myriad of health risks.
The paint is best suited for infection prone places such as health institutions and humid surfaces such as toilets, bathrooms and kitchens.
The next frontier for the Kenyan industry could most likely be mosquito repellent paint which has already been launched in South Africa. The paint repels malaria causing mosquitoes from walls and ceilings coated with the solution for up to three years.