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Sony Sugar

SonySugar is sweetening the deal for Kenya

Peter Verenakas

One of Kenya's most dynamic and socially aware sugar producers is using its meteoric success to promote Kenya's Vision 2030 whilst also reducing dependency on foreign imports
SonySugar is sweetening the deal for Kenya

 

SonySugar Company is preparing to invest more than Ksh. 1 billion to expand its production capacity and enhance production efficiency.

The company’s turnover has rocketed from Ksh. 1.8 billion to Ksh. 7 billion since 2007 and the arrival of current Managing Director - Paul Odola, MBS.

Due to this unprecedented recent success, the company now plans to invest Ksh. 925 million into product diversification and optimisation in an effort to boost consumer satisfaction and ensure Kenya is self sufficient in sugar production.  In addition to this investment, funding will also be utilised to research new cane and sugar production methods.

Having been a key player in the Kenyan sugar sector for more than three decades - producing 64,000 tonnes of sugar from 637,000 tonnes of cane  delivered from the Company’s Nucleus estate and  its 20,000 farmers in 2012 – the company is now passionate about playing its role in the Kenya Vision 2030.

A spoonful of sugar

After the company’s inception in 1976, the first major changes in the brand appeared in 2001 when a comprehensive change to the business saw sugar packages for consumers appear in Kenya.

SonySugar is a unique granular sugar made from clean, fresh, mature cane, cut from the lush cane growing belt in Southwestern region  of Kenya.   The innovative business plan of the current team of management and directors has seen the company adopting new technology as a way to keep ahead of internal and external competition.

“Technology is an integral part of our business which ensures that there is increased productivity in our operations that in turn translates to a low cost in business operation,” said Paul Odola.

In October 2002, a more extensive brand launch complemented by a re-design of the packaging and a print and radio campaign boosted the company’s profile. 

The recent economic downturn has had a sizable effect on the business, with high rates of interest and unstable exchange markets causing difficulties at home. 

SonySugar has weathered the storm by thinking ahead with an innovative strategy of growth even through these tough times.

“Due to the economic situation there has been intense competition for both the raw material and product.  This has led to the rise in the cost of raw material (sugarcane), thus making sugar production uncompetitive,” said Odola.

Better together

SonySugar is a progressive and compassionate organisation which prides itself on placing the concerns and wellbeing of its 1,200 employees highly on the agenda.

SonySugar offers competitive and favorable sugar prices to cane farmers through competitive pricing. A key goal of the company is to shorten the payment period after cane delivery to improve farmer cash flows.

“Our long term objective is that our communities will view us as a company to believe in and a partner that adds value to their economic welfare,” said Odola.

“SonySugar’s farmers are a key business partner and are the cornerstone to our Sugar business.”

As well as being intent on improving the wellbeing of the locality, SonySugar is vehemently dedicated to protecting and conserving the Kenyan environment.

“We provide technical advisory services on sugarcane disease control, land use management, new variety adaptation, integrated farming, conservation agriculture, soil conservation and others,” said Odola.

 “SonySugar plays a key role in the achievement of the Vision 2030 goals.  Our contribution to the social, economic and political pillars is self evident,” said Odola.

 In the next five years, we expect the company to be more profitable, stable, and robust. This will be achieved by strictly pursing the growth and diversification strategy in our current strategic plan.

Kenyan pride

In the past five years, over Ksh.600M has been invested in extensive roads/bridges, drains construction and maintenance. The SonySugar sugar cane belt has a total road network of 788 kilometers.

SonySugar contributes to community sustainability by providing local jobs, building local talent, and sourcing from local businesses (where feasible).

As an equal opportunity employer, SonySugar has a diverse work force.

“Our diverse range of activities provides for direct and indirect employment/labor throughout the year. Direct labor number approximately 1000 and indirect labor including seasonal hire is in excess of 8000,” said Odola.

This approximates to 9000 households which combined with the over 20,000 farmers engaged in sugar cane production, represents a significant population in the counties served by SonySugar.

“Our dream is to live our vision and mission of being a successful model sugarcane milling business both locally and globally, and call on all our stakeholders to support and join us in realizing this prospect,” concluded Odola. 

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