Consumer goods manufacturer Bidco Africa has set itself a one-billion-dollar (Ksh80 billion) revenue target over the next five years.
Revealing the ambitious target, Group Chairman Vimal Shah explained that the company’s growth trajectory and investment plans justified the target.
“We are entering a high-growth phase with major investments,” he said to day a press briefing. “The Bidco Industrial Park will house 10 new factories so we are confident that we can crack the billion dollar ceiling. We have to do it.”
This growth will be led by Bidco’s new CEO, Mr Thiagarajan Ramamurthy, who was appointed in April in a radical change in the company’s leadership that saw Vimal, the group CEO and Founder Director, become the company’s chairman to focus on Bidco Africa’s growth strategy and expansion into new product categories and markets.
He said Bidco will commission four new plants by the end of the year in the first phase, representing an initial investment of $50 million (Ksh5 billion). The second phase will comprise an additional investment of $150 million (Ksh15 million).
With ever present present competition in the fast-moving consumer goods category, it will be an uphill task for Ramamurthy, the former Nakumatt Holdings chief operations officer, who has to learn the production end of things.
Vimal revealed the new direction during a partner briefing where the company launched the company’s Code of Ethics.
“Corruption is a problem in this country; investors are leaving and we as the private sector have decided to stand up and say NO and this code is Bidco Africa’s way of adding our voice to the cause,” he said.
“All our 1,700 employees and 500 suppliers have to read this document, signed it and vowed to live by it. Doing the right thing has always been a part of the Bidco Way and now we have it in black and white,” he said.
Even then, Bidco remains in the spotlight over labour issues, with accusations of mistreating workers and engaging foreigners for jobs that can be done by locals. Mr Vimal was in March summoned to appear before the Parliamentary Committee on labour to respond to the accusations, but he instead sent representatives, infuriating MPs who sit on the panel.
The company’s workers are are said to be subjected to poor working conditions and most of them are employed as casual labourers, who do not benefit from statutory National Social Security Fund and the National Hospital Insurance Fund. The company is also accused of intimidating employees seeking to join the Thika-based Kenya Union of Commercial Food and Allied Workers.