Companies take the path of extreme makeover

Companies take the path of extreme makeover

In April 2020, Sameer Africa dropped shocker. After 50 years in tyre business, it called it quits. FILE PHOTO | NMG Kenyan firms are joining the global trend of complete reinvention in seeking to seize opportunities presented by the fast-changing customer needs.

For 25 years, Magana Flowers Kenya Limited has been synonymous with flowers, just as its company name indicates.

But it is now ditching the floriculture industry in a major restructuring of its business operations as it sets eyes on real estate.

Paul Salim, the chief executive, broke the news on July 30, saying the firm will no longer produce and export flowers.

“The industry has gone through significant changes which have greatly affected Magana Flowers and on review of our business, we find that it is no longer possible to continue with our business operations based on the current business model,” said Mr Salim.

The firm now wants to use its vast land of about 25 acres for real estate development, marking the beginning of complete reinvention.

The reinvention will have a heavy bearing on its logo of a red rose flower hugging the world map in line with what has been its target market — Middle East, Europe and China.

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Magana Flowers is not alone. Many other firms are taking cue from local and international examples to ditch their traditional businesses for different offerings.

International examples such as mobile phone maker Nokia that started off selling rubber boots and oil giant Shell that used to import and sell actual cowrie shells offers hope.

CORE BUSINESS Kenya’s Car & General in 1996, then loss-making, took the market by surprise when it quit all its core business, including manufacturing re-tread tyres.CEO Vijay Gidoomal says that the business environment is changing fast and only firms that are ready to reinvent remain relevant and thrive.“The shelf life for businesses in one form is growing shorter. Today if a single business line lasts beyond 10 years, one would be very fortunate,” says Mr Gidoomal.“It is where you see relevance and competitive advantage. You have to be on top of trends, if possible using predictive analysis.”Firms such as Tuskys Supermarket did not start off with the idea of selling a range of household goods as it is today.Tuskys’ founder Joram Kamau in 1985 started off with Magic, a store that was only selling mattresses.This humble beginning would give birth to one of […]

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