Sameer Africa Limited, under the name Firestone East Africa (1969) Limited, was established in Kenya in 1969 by Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company of the USA and the Kenyan Government to produce tyres for the East African market. Sameer Investments Limited, a Kenyan company, later purchased a significant part of the shareholding from Firestone Tyre and Rubber Company.
In 1988, when Bridgestone Corporation purchased Firestone Tyre & Rubber Company, Sameer Investments Limited retained its shareholding in Firestone East Africa 1969 Limited and the company was listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange in 1995.
The company’s corporate identity changed to Sameer Africa Limited in April 2005. This change created an independent tyre producer based in Kenya that aims to supply the East African and COMESA markets.
With a technical capability developed over 43 years of producing tyres in Kenya, the company is now able to produce a comprehensive range of tyres to meet customers’ needs in Africa.
Sameer Africa’s product range currently includes: passenger textile and steel belted radials, 4x4 tyres, light truck radial and bias, truck and bus, agricultural, industrial and Off-The-Road tyres under the brand name, Yana. Sameer Africa produces both tube type and tubeless tyres and also produces tubes and flaps.
Follow the link below for more details on the Sameer Africa’s Product Range.
The Yana brand, officially launched in November 2005 in Nairobi, is Sameer Africa’s own brand that aims to be a pan- African tyre brand. This brand is backed by leading tyre technology, and the local development and production is engineered to meet the challenging driving conditions in Africa.
Sameer Africa Limited also distributes the world renowned Bridgestone tyres in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Indeed, Bridgestone Japan still retains a significant equity shareholding in Sameer Africa Limited of approximately 15%.
In order to remain closer to the customer and to be able to understand their needs and wants Sameer Africa runs tyre shops (centers) through its own subsidiary company under the name Yana Tyre Centre Limited.
The tyre centers deal with anything to do with tyres and hence apart from selling tyres. Services include Tyre fitting, Tyre balancing, Wheel alignment and Tyre rotation.
Not until the bad news of Sameer Kenya, Nairobi Plant closure was heard in May 2016. The plant has been idle for months following a decision made last year to stop making tyres at the Mombasa Road-based plant. Already hundreds of employees have been sacked and the management is blaming cheap imports for the closure. Not much details about this exist but it could be that the owners have set up a plant in India or they are selling the machinery. Only a fraction of employees such as marketers have been retained. This decision leaves the jobs of over 500 workers in doubt. This was approved by the Capital Markets Authority.
On Pricing, Chinese tyres are gaining popularity in several African markets. Many developing countries, especially in Africa, are price-sensitive markets and prefer to import low-priced Chinese tyres rather than the expensive European and American brands. As a result, China has emerged as a leading exporter of tyres to many African countries in recent times.
Many tyre manufacturers shut down their plants during the financial crisis and so are always playing catch up even today. Supply is still way behind demand and with manufacturers unable to cater for everybody.
Kenya’s leading tyre manufacturer Kenyan manufacturer, Sameer Africa, has been importing tyres from China to meet a strong demand for low priced products in the East Africa market. The company also installed a light truck tyre assembly machine recently and also increased capacity. “We were not making enough money from our tyre production unit so we borrowed to finance the importation of tyres that we don’t make” said managing director, Eric Kimani.
The Chinese brands imported by Sameer Africa include Dyna and Triangle.
Usually, it takes 90 days for confirmed shipment to arrive in East Africa from suppliers overseas. Sometimes it takes as long as six months and the company doesn’t always get what it wants.
Read more about the closure through the link below.
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How about you guys in West Africa? What have you got in tyre manufacturing on that side of the African World?
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