Consumer brands manufacturer Pwani Oil has acquired the popular Ushindi soap brand from PZ Cussons for Sh107 million.
The deal, approved by the Competition Authority of Kenya, comes as demand for soap and hygiene products rises due to Covid-19 health protocols requiring regular washing and disinfecting to curb the spread of the virus.
According to Pwani Oil Commercial Director Rajul Malde, there has been a sudden surge in demand for multipurpose soap products that fit into emerging consumers’ spending patterns and desire for a wider choice. .
“Our decision to buy Ushindi is informed by our desire to give our customers meaningful choices especially now when they need to keep their families safe by maintaining high hygiene standards,”
The Ushindi acquisition will also see the company gain significant share of the personal and homecare product market since it also manufactures the ‘White Wash’ and ‘Ndume’ brands.
Mr. Malde adds that while consumption of soap and detergents has increased, disposable incomes are declining due to the negative economic impact of Covid-19, and consumers now want a product they can use for bathing and other home hygiene needs.
“Consumers are increasingly limited by what is in their pocket hence the need to give them a wider range to choose from with products that meet multiple needs. Prior to the onset of Covid-19, consumers were already headed in the direction of healthy and value-added products and this will continue,” he explained.
At the same time, Pwani has also launched a new variant of the Ushindi soap as it seeks to diversify its home care portfolio.
The transaction has been cleared by Kenya’s Competition Authority and covers the brand and manufacturing equipment. Ushindi’s current range includes bar soap and detergent.
The global soap market is projected to hit US$55 billion (Ksh. 5.5 trillion) by 2027, according to market research firm, Fortune Insights, with growth mainly fueled by the Covid-19 rapid spread across the world.
Hand hygiene is recommended by the World Health Organisation as one the most effective ways of preventing person-to-person transmission of the virus.
Demand is expected to be higher for soap products that have natural ingredients like aloe vera as increasingly health conscious consumers seek products that fit in with their lifestyles.