Our roots can be traced back to 1937, with the incorporation of “Shah Kanji Ladha and Company” in Thika, by Kanji Ladha Shah. The shop located in the centre of Thika town, traded in textiles and general goods. Kanji was later joined in 1940, by his cousin HemrajSura Shah.
In 1950, our current Chairman, Mohanlal Dharamshi Shah joined his uncles to fuel further expansion. “Thika Household Suppliers” was formed in 1968, dealing in the supply of foodstuffs, hardware and sundry items to Government bodies, Hospitals and Schools.
In the following years, Mohanlal’s three sons also joined the business, first with Anju Mohanlal Shah in 1974. Anju joined after having completed a Diploma in Business Studies from Wandsworth Technical College. He was later followed in 1977 by his younger brother, Jinit Mohanlal Shah, who had completed a Diploma in Business Studies from Romford Polytechnic. Subsequently the youngest brother, Mayur Mohanlal Shah joined in 1981, having graduated as a Pharmacist from John Moore University and completed a Diploma in Baking in the United Kingdom.
A decision was made to venture into the capital city of Nairobi, and so this saw the formation of “Anjim Fabrics” on Biashara Street, which specialised in bed sheets, blankets and khangas.
Given their strong understanding and experience in the Kenyan market, the directors identified a large gap in the market for good quality bread; and so plans were drawn up to expand out into the baking industry, resulting in the incorporation of Kenblest Limited.
In August 1982, the Kenblest bakery was commissioned with the prime objective to manufacture and deliver good quality and affordable bread to Kenyan consumers.
Having completed their higher education abroad, Mohanlal’s three sons were able to embed international business practices into the workings of Kenblest bakery. This enabled the company to prosper, and within 4 short years the bakery expanded its capacity from 80,000 to 230,000 loaves per day. A further expansion in 2006 increased daily production capacity to 330,000 loaves per day, making Kenblest the single largest bread producer under one roof in Kenya.
The company currently boasts a distribution channel that comprises of over 100 vehicles, which delivers bread through an extensive network that extends to the most remote of areas. The company directly employs over 700 staff and many more indirectly.
KIFARU INDUSTRIES LIMITED
In 1994, Kenblest Limited acquired the assets of the adjacent Kenya Taitex Mills, which was later rebranded to its present name, Kifaru Industries Limited.
Once a fully-fledged textile factory producing a range of textiles, the company has moved into the manufacture of mineral water under the brand name “Acacia” and the milling of Maize meal under the brand name “Two Ten”. The company also manufactures wax paper and is a distributor for Orange Telkom products.
NAV PLASTICS LIMITED
With a strong foothold in the Kenyan market, in 1994 the company expanded into the Plastics industry, through the installation of a polythene extrusion plant and bag making machinery to cater for Kenblest Bread’s packaging requirements.
The directors held a strong regard for the environment and so Nav Plastics was expanded in 2005, with investment in machinery to manufacture millenary paper bags using recycled paper. Demand for this environmentally friendly product stemmed from both local and international markets; and as a result the company embarked on similar projects that placed a strong consideration on the environment, such as plastic recycling plant.
McNEEL MILLERS LIMITED
Kenblest Limited sought to vertically integrate their operations, investing in the installation of a 140 tonne per day wheat mill. The mill operated under McNeel Millers manufactures a range of flour for domestic consumption, under the brand name “Two Ten”. The mill also manufactures baker’s flour, which is fed directly into the Kenblest Bakery, ensuring the best quality flour, is used to make the best quality bread.
Given the rapid increase in demand for the mills’ products, the company is currently undergoing a large scale expansion to increase capacity to 300 tonnes per day. The installation of state of the art Swiss Milling Technology, will make McNeel Millers one of the most technologically advanced milling facilities in Africa today, which means even better quality flour and bread for consumers!
The Kenblest Group is rapidly expanding, with a view to deliver the best quality products at affordable prices to the Kenyan public. The Group’s activities are widely diversified, ranging from baking, wheat milling, maize milling, the manufacture of mineral water, just to mention a few. The Group is supported by a well-established infrastructure network, which comprises of 500,000 square feet of warehousing, over 100 distribution vehicles and 700 employees; and with continual investment the Group hopes to grow this network even further.
The Management and Directors place a strong emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility, donating thousands of loaves and millions of shillings to worthy causes annually. The Group’s main strengths derive from a strong and unified workforce, which are complemented by strong and ethical working practices. Together with a streamlined and coherent business model, the Group continually strives to better serve the Kenyan public.
In conclusion we would like to end with a quote from the group Chairman: