Catalyst Principal Partners announces investment in Kenya-based Orbit Chemical Industries

25 Apr 2016

East Africa focused private equity firm Catalyst Principal Partners has announced its investment in Orbit Chemical Industries Ltd. The investment enables Orbit Chemical’s ambitious expansion plans by increasing capacity of its existing lines, extending its products range into new synergistic categories, and regionalization of its manufacturing capability, thereby supporting the strong growth of existing as well as new customers across Eastern Africa and beyond.

Orbit Chemical is amongst the leading industrial companies in the sub-region, having evolved from a trader of chemicals to its state-of-the-art outsourced manufacturing model that is vertically integrated to provide high quality finished products, packaging and labeling to global multinational companies and leading regional players of fast-moving consumer goods, it is well positioned with a diversified offering of world class brands in soaps, detergents, bleaches, creams and lotions, as well as commercial cleaning chemicals and hygiene solutions, traded industrial chemicals and agro-chemicals.

Speaking to the investment into Orbit Chemical, Catalyst Chief Executive, Paul Kavuma said, “In providing high quality, low cost manufacturing solutions at the highest standard of compliance, Orbit Chemical represents a unique proposition to customers that can outsource production with tailored specifications to a reliable strategic partner, such that the customers can focus resources on marketing and distribution to drive faster penetration and growth of their products across the region.”

The investment in Orbit Chemical aligns to Catalyst’s East African focused strategy of backing dynamic companies, entrepreneurs and management teams in support of their ambitious plans for strong growth and regional expansion, with the aims of developing regional and pan-African champions of scale.

“Catalyst’s investment will further strengthen Orbit’s product development and innovation capabilities to enhance service and product offerings to its key customers across the region so as to address growing local demand for increasingly tailored and inspirational goods at affordable prices.” added Paul Kavuma.

Commenting on the investment, Orbit Chemical Industries, Chief Executive Officer, Sachen Chandaria welcomed the move by Catalyst to support the business as reinforcement of management’s growth vision. "Catalyst is the absolute right partner for Orbit. With their strong local presence, international networks and intimate knowledge of the region, we are able to leverage the relationship to accelerate our growth plans, particularly in entering new markets in which Catalyst has a depth of experience as active investors across the region” added Mr. Chandaria.

Kenya’s manufacturing base is steadily evolving as one of the high-growth sectors in the country supported by a Government emphasis on industrialization as a means of achieving middle class economic status by 2030. As a result, manufacturing is now the fourth largest contributor to Kenya’s gross domestic product, accounting for 10 per cent of GDP in 2014. Growth in manufacturing has been further promoted by Government efforts to attract both domestic and foreign investment in industry by improving the ease of doing business, improving the enabling environment with increased capital investment in infrastructure and energy, and through the integration of the regional economies through the expansion of the East African Customs union that presents a large market with a population of 200 million.

The investment by Catalyst in Orbit Chemical is the fourth in leading players in the manufacturing and consumer product sectors by the private equity firm, which also has investments in Tanzania’s, Chemi & Cotex Industries and Chai Bora, as well as Ethiopia’s mineral water bottling company, Yes Brands. The investment is the third for Catalyst in Kenya having invested in the pharmacy retail chain, Goodlife, and with the SME lender, Jamii Bora Bank.


For further information please contact:

Evalyn Warigia


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