Bidco to invest $200 mln, aims to quadruple Kenya revenue

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THIKA, Kenya (Reuters) – Bidco Africa, a maker of soap and edible oils, is investing $200 million in a new plant and acquisitions over the next five years and it aims to raise its annual revenue in Kenya to $1 billion, its chief executive said.

The family-owned firm, which made $250 million in Kenya last year, has plants in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania and just opened a fourth in Madagascar.

The company earns extra revenue from export sales around Africa and other lines of business such as farming. Its five-year growth plan is focused on boosting revenue from sales in Kenya.

CEO Vimal Shah said the company will open a second plant in Kenya this year to produce drinks and food such as breakfast cereals.

“There will also be buying out companies. We will look at joint ventures,” he told Reuters in his office in Thika town, 45 km from the capital of Nairobi, on Thursday.

Bidco was established by Shah, his brother and father, and is one of the leading manufacturers in the East African country, employing 5,000 people.

The new plant will add another 500 jobs, said Shah.

He dismissed concerns about slowing economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Regional growth last year is estimated at 1.7 percent last year, the slowest in two decades.

“The cycle of urbanisation and population increase is not stopping for Africa,” Shah said.

But he said investors must be patient and ride out economic slowdowns. Many African economies are suffering from lower global commodity prices.

“Africa needs long-term capital, not short-term capital. We are long-term players,” Shah said.


(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; editing by Katharine Houreld and Jason Neely)

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