Kenya: KenolKobil Cedes Biggest Market Share in First Quarter

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Oil marketer KenolKobil  suffered the deepest market share erosion in the first quarter of the year as Vivo Energy, the retailer of Shell-branded fuel products, extended its lead over rivals.

The Petroleum Institute of East Africa (PIEA) data indicates that KenolKobil’s share of volume sales narrowed to 9.9 per cent in the January-March trading window, from 13.2 per cent in a similar period last year.

But market leader Vivo grew its share to 28 per cent from 26 per cent, ahead of second-placed French firm Total whose performance was flatlined, leaving it with a 23.1 per cent share of volume sales.

During the three-month period, National Oil Corporation of Kenya surged past Libya Oil to emerge fourth with a market size of 7.4 per cent. The top five oil dealers in total command slightly over three-quarters of the local market share at 75.6 per cent, with the remaining portion, shared out by about 45 other smaller traders.

The PIEA data shows that Kenya’s consumption of diesel, used to power commercial vehicles and agricultural machinery, stood at 642 million litres in the first quarter, making it the most used fuel in the economy

Petrol intake was 453 million litres, while kerosene’s use was 118 million litres.

This brings the total consumption of fuel to 1.2 billion litres in the review period. With a 28 per cent market share and based on total sales, it means Vivo’s volume sales stood at 336 million litres.

The company has in recent years been on an expansion drive, opening dozens of new petrol stations, a strategy that saw it knock off Total from the pole position.

Vivo is also moving to acquire Engen Kenya, which has a 1.3 per cent market share and 15 service stations.

Large oil marketers in Kenya have more retail outlets compared to their smaller rivals, giving them an edge in pushing a thicker sales flow.

The absence of price wars due to government price controls means market presence and strategic locations are key factors in winning customers who do not have to seek bargains at various outlets.

The Energy Regulatory Commission started controlling the price of petrol, diesel and kerosene in 2010.

Besides vehicle fuels, the other major market share driver are bulk sales to small independent oil firms, emergency power producers and airlines.

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