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Kenya tyre dealer puts up retread plant

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 8 – Bus and truck owners will soon have the opportunity to reduce the amount of money they spend on tyres by nearly 60 percent once a proposed retreading factory by Kingsway Tyres is fully operational.

The tyre distributing and retailing firm’s Managing Director Manoj Shah disclosed on Thursday that they were in the process of setting up a 20,000 square feet facility in Nairobi’s Industrial Area where the operators can return their worn-out tyres and have them retreaded.

“An average retread lasts 60 percent of the life of a new tyre; with the process that we are introducing, we are guaranteeing 90 percent of the mileage of a new tyre which is almost like a new tyre,” he asserted.

The factory which will have a capacity to retread 12,000 tyres a year is expected to be ready by May 31.

A tyre for a bus or truck on average cost between Sh40,000 and Sh50,000 which forces many operators to go for cheap and substandard thereby polluting the environment and leading to road carnage in the country.

“We have seen many road accidents in the recent past where a lot of people have been killed because many of the buses are using tyres which are not designed to be used on them,” he said.

Although he acknowledged that exact figures of poor quality tyres in Kenya are not available, he estimated that they probably account for between 30 to 40 percent of those sold in the market.

“We are educating our customers that sometimes by paying more initially, they can save a lot of money in terms of downtime and safety and of course we are promoting the concept of cost per kilometer,” he said.

At a press briefing celebrating the company’s 50th anniversary, Mr Shah said they were in the process of penetrating regional markets where they hoped to introduce the tyre centre and retreading concepts.

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“We are going to be in Tanzania and Uganda before the end of the year and we are also conducting feasibility studies in Rwanda and Burundi so by the time the Common Market (Protocol) comes into play, we will be ready with our plan to go into the regional market,” the MD added.

He anticipated that the implementation of this and other measures would enable them to grow their market share from the current 25 percent to 35 percent in the next five years.

Currently, the company which pioneered tubeless tyres for trucks and Public Service Vehicles has 16 branches in Kenya.

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