East Africa’s Piping Pioneers
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Stuart Parker
Having built a name for itself as a leading supplier of uPVC and HDPE pipes and fittings for a significant number of East Africa’s biggest water and sewerage projects, Eslon Plastics is proudly celebrating half a century of operation and is excited for what the future holds over the next few years.
With initial shareholdings divided between a multinational group and the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation (ICDC), Eslon’s current shareholders took advantage of the opportunity to buy-out all the shares in 2004; making Eslon part of the Metro Group of Companies in Kenya.
“The Company started with a few pipe extrusion machines and as the market kept growing, more and more machines were added,” recalls Satishchandra Shah, Managing Director. “Today, we have 15 lines of which 11 are for PVC Pipes and four for HDPE Pipes. Our core business is to tender and supply for large irrigation, sewerage and domestic water supply projects in East Africa. Due to the nature of our business, our customers are mainly Central Government, County Governments, water companies and foreign aided projects.”
As the oldest existing pipe manufacturing Company in Kenya, Eslon Plastics has established an export foothold in the surrounding region, unlocking new opportunities in countries such as Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan.
“Currently, we supply a number of large projects in these areas and we are expecting to see an increase in our business volume with more major projects in the pipeline,” explains Shah.
Rated as one of the most reliable and conscientious Companies to do business with, Elson caters to a wide range of sectors including water reticulation, sewerage, irrigation, plumbing and fibre optic.
Now placing even greater emphasis on the quality of its products, Eslon Plastics has made a series of internal improvements to ensure quality throughout the value chain.
“Aligning with our continuous improvement objectives, we have recently installed a state-of-the-art testing laboratory that is manned by professional staff to ensure quality and performance,” Shah says. “Additionally, we have installed a further three production lines over the past 12 months, upping our manufacturing capabilities for PVC pipes from 400mm outer diameter (OD), to 630mm; and from 200mm OD up to 450mm for HDPE pipes.”
Adding to its achievements, these upgrades have made Eslon Plastics the only Company in Kenya capable of manufacturing such a large range of pipes made to ISO specifications.
“We try and keep ourselves one step ahead of the market. It has now been a year since the installation of the new machines and enquiries have started pouring in, and we are beginning to see the returns on our huge investment. We have a fleet of vehicles and a very efficient dispatch team to ensure timely delivery of pipes to various sites as well,” Shah highlights.
As an extension to its range of PVC and HDPE pipes, Elson can also fabricate large size fittings including long radius bends, tees and Y’s, as well as made-to-order reducers and valve sockets as part of its value-add offering.
“Value-add and continuous investments to lead the industry remain firmly-rooted in the Company’s core strategic pillars. On a regular basis, we have been replacing old production lines with new machines and utilising new technologies in order to increase efficiency and improve the quality of our products while keeping in mind our duty towards a cleaner environment. These new machines consume less power in the manufacturing process, resulting in a notable reduction in carbon emissions,” he further details.
Equipped with an experienced sales team who interact with clients on regular basis throughout any given project – resolving any technical problems along the way – Eslon is well-placed to achieve its significant growth aspirations in the coming years.
As a founding member of Kenya’s Plastic Pipe Manufacturers Association (KEPPMA), the Company takes quality and consumer confidence very seriously. “Our finance and administration team is headed by a Chief Executive who is a qualified Chartered Accountant by profession. Moreover, one of our directors has a full-time position at our facilities to resolve any queries or issues as quickly as possible. We have experienced staff in all our departments and many of them are sponsored by the Company, at regular intervals, for further training both within and outside Kenya,” says Shah.
He concludes: “Businesses around the world are keeping a close eye on the huge opportunities coming from Africa, especially in the manufacturing industry. This, combined with the need for infrastructure investment across the continent, presents exciting opportunities for Eslon in the future, which we want to be a key part of.”