Lo­cal bat­tery mar­ket hurt by fac­tory clo­sure

“Eveready brought in sup­ply about three months ago and it didn’t last,” said an at­ten­dant at Naivas Su­per­mar­ket

The Star (Kenya) - - News - WEITERE MWITA AND CYN­THIA ILAKO @The StarKenya

Ex­actly two years after the clo­sure of Eveready’s Nakuru dry cell plant, the Kenyan mar­ket is suf­fer­ing un­sta­ble sup­ply of bat­ter­ies, lead­ing to short­age in most out­lets across the coun­try.

This has been blamed on a six­month de­lay in the sup­ply chain which has hurt the lo­cal mar­ket which now re­lies on im­ports.

Most shops and re­tail stores in the coun­try are cur­rently short of the com­mod­ity, mostly used to power house­hold equip­ment such as torches, re­mote con­trols, ra­dios and cam­eras among oth­ers.

Com­mon brands with short­ages in­clude En­er­gizer prod­ucts which Naivas chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Willy Kimani yes­ter­day said has had un­sta­ble sup­ply for the last five months.

Other com­mon brands are Du­ra­cell and Eveready. Du­ra­cell has been in short sup­ply for the last four months, Kimani said.

“The sup­ply chain has been weak,” Kimani told the Star on phone af­firm­ing that the clo­sure of Eveready East Africa’s Nakuru plant in Septem­ber 2014 “has a bit to play” in the short­age.

A spot check by the Star over the last few weeks has es­tab­lished that ma­jor out­lets such as Uchumi and Naivas have been ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a bit­ing bat­tery short­age.

Uchumi’s Sarit Cen­tre branch had no bat­ter­ies at all, while the only bat­tery brand avail­able at some Naivas stores were a hand­ful set of Varta and En­er­gizer.

All the house­hold bat­tery types D-size, dry cell AA and AAA have been af­fected.

“The lack of D-size bat­ter­ies has af­fected the or­der­ing of some ap­pli­ances such as torches that re­quire this size of bat­ter­ies. Peo­ple aren’t quick to buy items that they can’t power. Eveready brought in sup­ply about three months ago and it didn’t last,” an at­ten­dant at Naivas, West­lands branch told the Star.

Eveready closed down after grap­pling with un­re­lent­ing com­pe­ti­tion from cheap im­ports and coun­ter­feits, that left the plant op­er­at­ing at about 25 per cent ca­pac­ity.

It re­sorted to im­port­ing bat­ter­ies from its af­fil­i­ate En­er­gizer Egypt to sell lo­cally.

Eveready di­ver­si­fied into car bat­ter­ies, shavers and light bulbs.

The short­age of Du­ra­cell bat­ter­ies has been at­trib­uted to the Fe­bru­ary 29, sale of the brand by Proc­ter & Gam­ble to Amer­i­can multi­na­tional -Berk­shire Hath­away.

/ FILE

Eveready East Africa MD Jack­son Mu­tua at a press brief­ing in Nairobi to un­veil its 2014-17 strate­gic plan in Septem­ber 29, 2014.

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