Roofing sheets maker, Mabati Rolling Mills (MRM) has launched a new colour-coating plant at Mariakani. The new line will produce more than 100,000 metric tonnes of steel per year. MRM said the plant is a statement of confidence in Kenya’s housing market despite growing fears that economic activities could slow down ahead of polls next month. MRM, East Africa’s largest steel maker, had earlier indicated that the construction of the new colour-coating line with a technology from Korea will cost Sh2.5 billion. The new plant will produce colour-coated sheets for not only the Kenyan market but also for export to other East African countries.
“This is a great milestone for Kenya… this new initiative will help others to get better shelter in Kenya and other parts of Africa,” said MRM Chief Executive Officer Andrew Heycott during the unveiling of the plant early in the week.
He said the new manufacturing facility will enable the company expand its capacity to serve the East African market and the northern parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Speaking during the launch, MRM Chairman Dr Manu Chandaria said the firm will strive to offer iron sheets of high quality and also affordable to cater for low income earners. He said there is growing demand for roofing sheets in the region because of high number of projects. “Everywhere I pass there are houses that need proper roofing. This is an opportunity for us to grow sales because shelter, food and clothing are still basic needs,” Chandaria said.
In March this year, data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) indicated that there has been slowed production of galvanised roofing sheets in Kenya since 2015. The survey indicated that in 2016, production of galvanised sheets stood at 209,400 metric tonnes, which is a two percent drop from the 214,200 metric tonnes sold in 2015.
“As Kenyan and East Africans, we must now work together and help each other. Buy Kenya, Build Kenya,” Chandaria, who commissioned the new plant, said. The new plant will be built on 10,000 square feet in Mariakani, Kilifi County. MRM, known for its DumuZas iron sheet, is a brand under the Safal Group, one of the largest steel manufacturers in Africa. MRM’s other flagship products include ZinCal, Optima, Galsheet Resincot, Covermax, Elengatile, Versatile and Lifestile.
The firm also unveiled a new colour roofing sheet product known as Dumurangi. MRM Head of Marketing – Roofing, Harry Njagi said the product will be available across the country through its network of distributors. Safal Group was incorporated to consolidate the operations of several allied operations in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa.