|The Kobil brand has finally been launched in Zambia.
Launching the brand, Zambian Vice President Dr. Nevers Mumba said Kenya and Zambia are members of the COMESA trading block, and that the launch of the Kobil brand in Zambia was in line with the principles of regional trading.
Kobil Zambia was previously trading under the Jovenna brand. The subsidiary was acquired in February 2002 from Nedbank Ltd.
The launch comes shortly after the re-branding process of the subsidiary in July 2003. The re-branding process, estimated at USD500,000 was part of a total of USD11 million set for regional expansion and rehabilitation activities. Presently, the Group is working towards opening another subsidiary in a fifth African company. "Since acquisition of Jovenna Zambia, market share has grown from less than 0.5% to 8%, with a further projection to 15% by 2005," said the Kenol/Kobil Group Managing Director Mr. Jacob Segman
Last year the Kenol/Kobil Group commenced importation of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) for the Kenyan market from the Indeni facility in Zambia. In a speech read on his behalf by the Minister for Energy Hon. George Mpombo, the Vice President noted that such trade, as well as the increased flights between Nairobi and Lusaka, helped to address trade biases between Kenya and Zambia.
The launch of the Kobil brand also coincided with the launch of the Kobil Lubricants brand. Zambia is the first market for Kobil Lubricants.
The Group's regional presence has enhanced economic balance between Kenya and neighbouring countries, since the liberalization of Economies in the 1990s. While a lot of South African companies ventured out after the liberalization, very few Kenyan companies undertook foreign investment, therefore creating an adverse economic imbalance between East Africa and the South
An indigenous Kenyan oil marketer, the Kenol/Kobil has sought to bridge the yawning gap, with foreign investments estimated at over USD20 million. The Group employs 400 people directly within its regional network, and over 5,000 others through its distribution and retail networks.
The subsidiaries have played a very significant role to the company's growth pattern, despite a shrinking market in Kenya, due to recession and unfair business practices by some of the players.