Mr Vimal Shah, Bidco Africa chairman, says there are no plans to venture out of Africa

Bidco Africa, the region’s leading edible oils manufacturer, has stepped up its a*****t on the African market with a $700 million (Ksh70 billion) investment to boost its operations.

The company’s chairman Vimal Shah says out of this $200 million (Ksh20 billion) has been invested in the Kenyan operation, while $500 million (Ksh50 billion) is being pumped in its various business across East Africa.

The ambitious expansion plan targets to build the company into the leading fast-moving consumer goods manufacturer in Africa by 2030. As things stand, it has made the first big step towards that goal, with a presence in four African markets.

“In 2000 we set ourselves a thirty-year goal to be number one in Africa,” Mr Vimal said in an interview with Business Today. “That’s why we went into other countries beginning with East Africa. First was Tanzania, Uganda and then  Madagascar where we produce our products and sell in this market.”

Besides, Bidco’s products are available in 16 African countries, though Mr Vimal says there are no plans to export out of Africa. “We don’t see ourselves exporting to Europe or Asia,” he says. Our plan is to serve the African market.”

Bidco is now the largest manufacturer of edible oils in East and Central Africa. It also produces detergents, baking powder personal care products and food and drinks, with a strong CSR programme that includes feeding school children and sponsoring Kenya’s rugby sevens team.

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For a company that started off with a production of one tonne per plant, or 20 tonnes per day, of soap, the current capacity of 3,000 tonnes per day is a milestone. That growth has been accompanied by an expansion in staff to 6,000 people fully employed and many more in the supply chain, from just 25 three decades ago.

He says the continental ambition is still on course. “We still have 12 years to go in achieving our dream of being number in Africa,” he says.

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