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Kenya gas firm to boost LPG market

NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 21 – The push towards environmental conservation and protection is poised to present opportunities for BOC Kenya to boost its Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) market in the country and the region.

BOC Managing Director John Kariuki told a media briefing on Friday that efforts to encourage people not to fell trees for fuel might push them towards the increased use of cooking gas.

Locally, BOC sells the cooking gas under the brand name ‘Handi’

“We support the use of LPG as a cleaner fuel because we need to protect our forests. In terms of domestic (usage), we have clear strategies that will ensure we play our effective part in encouraging the use of LPG,” he said.

It is estimated that over 80 percent of Kenya’s households rely on wood and charcoal for cooking while only about eight percent and one percent of the urban and rural population has access to LPG respectively.

In addition to the provision of gases to the industrial and medical sectors, the MD said these strategies would enable them add value in their business and in the process make decent margins.

These remarks came a day after BOC announced a 20 percent drop in pre tax profits to Sh146million which was attributed to lowered demand for their products.

Mr Kariuki however disclosed that the company would be investing Sh80 million to upgrade its Air Separation Plant to enhance efficiency.

Despite the challenging economic times which are compounded by the power crisis, he added that the company was keen on implementing cost cutting initiatives as a means to surviving the harsh environment.

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Staff lay-offs were however not part of this strategy aimed at stemming the erosion of the overall turnover. “We have in the last 12 months or so invested in cost reduction measures and they are indications that this will be paying off going forward,” he added.

The company is also working towards the safety, health, environment and quality standards such as the ISO 14000 and OHSAS 18000 and was expecting to be accredited soon.

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