Astra Industries is expected to rebrand after its recent acquisition by a Tokyo-listed firm, Kansai Plascon Africa, which is expected to be unveiled to the market in a few week’s time.Kansai Plascon Africa is Africa’s leading coatings company and its recent acquisition of Astra follows a similar swoop on a South African firm, the Johannesburg Securities Exchange-listed Freeworld Coatings, the largest paint manufacturer on the continent.
The acquisition of the South African and Zimbabwean businesses is likely to consolidate Kansai’s global position as a paints manufacturer; the company was already the sixth largest coating company in the world prior to the acquisitions.
Following its acquisition, Freeworld Coatings was rebranded and now trades as Kansai Plascon Africa.
Freeworld shares were however, delisted from Africa’s premier exchange, the Johannesburg Securities Exchange following the takeover.
It would appear the same pattern could be followed in Zimbabwe, with Astra delisting from the domestic bourse.
Kansai partnered with Astra management and staff to acquire a 63,25 percent shareholding in the Zimbabwe Stock-Exchange listed paint and protective coatings manufacturer.
The stake was previously held by the Finance Trust of Zimbabwe (Private) Limited, an investment vehicle owned by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
The transaction has since received the approval of Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment and the RBZ Exchange Control division and the external loans coordinating committee.
Astra Industries is the largest paint and protective coatings manufacturer in the country with an estimated market share of about 40 percent.
The company expects to regain market share, which it lost to cheap imports from China and South Africa.
Mackenzie Mazimbe , the managing director of Astra Industries, confirmed the development when contacted to comment on the issue last week. “Astra Industries was bought by Kansai Plascon Africa and we will be holding a launch to introduce our new partners and brand to the market on Wednesday 25 September 2013,” Mazimbe said.
Kansai Plascon Africa intends to expand into the rest of Southern Africa to consolidate its leadership position as the number one coatings company in Africa.
The Astra Industries deal, worth about US$5,5 million, strengthens Kansai Plascon Africa’s presence in Southern Africa as it already has factories and brand presence in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Malawi.
Where the company does not have a factory in the region, it exports out of South Africa into retail outlets and directly to contractors.
It has also been exporting to countries such as Kenya and Nigeria since 2004.
Astra Industries operates two divisions, Astra Paints, which is the largest paint company in the country and Astra Chemicals, which markets and distributes a diversified range of chemical products to industry.
Astra Paints has two factories, one in Harare and the other in Bulawayo.
The company also controls a 51 percent interest in NCP Distrillers, an alcohol joint venture with Hippo Valley Estates.
The company’s steel and engineering supplies subsidiary, Astra Steel was closed in 2011.