Paint firms jostle for State’s affordable housing market

Njange Maina 

Players in the paints and decorative industry are positioning themselves to play a key role in the affordable housing plans by the government.

Paint factories and importers are eyeing an estimated four million square metres of surface that will need painting and decoration. Local paint manufacturers controls the majority of the domestic market.

Crown Paints, which controls the majority of the market share has announced plans to venture into low costs paints as a strategy for the affordable housing. “We already have a range of economy paints and other products to meet this demand,” says Rakesh Rao, Chief Executive Officer.

The paints market has seen new entrants, which will create a highly competitive environment among the decorative players.  Studio 6, a local firm that specialises in interior designs, last week announced a partnership with Oikos, an Italian giant decorative wall coating solutions provider specialising in green paints. 

Studio 6’s CEO Monica Kung’u says the partnership will help tap the government’s plan to provide affordable housing. “The partnership is keen on Kenya government’s ‘Big Four’ agenda,” said Kung’u.

Last year, Japanese paint and coatings manufacturer Kansai Paint’s acquired Sadolin Paints East Africa’s operations for a fee said to be in the region of $125 million (Sh12.5 billion). The Competition Authority of Kenya approved the acquisition.

During the Crown Paints recent annual general meeting, Rao highlighted the growth of capacity among competing brands and entry of new paints. “We will continue to expand our market share by introducing new and innovative product solutions, better customer experience and reach out  into new markets,” Rao said.

He said Crown Paints will seek consultative meetings with different housing and construction bodies as well as manufacturers to enhance their capacities. A thriving construction industry is also attracting the foreign paints companies, mainly eyeing the affordable housing plans.

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