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