Many questions have been asked about the Sadolin brand in the last six months before its fresh relaunch into the market after the impression that it had been taken over by Japanese based Kansai Plascon.
Now the Ugandan market is set for competition between two global paint brands with Crown Group, manufacturers of Regal Paints the new local partners Sadolin Paints.
Speaking after the relaunch, Johann Smidt, the Director for AkzoNobel decorative paints in sub-Sahara Africa, said that the company was excited to relaunch its brand in Uganda after many years of serving them.
Here are excerpts from a discussion with Smidt.
Brief background to recent cancellation of contract with Kansai Plascon?
Previous licensee was acquired by a competitor. AkzoNobel gave notice of cancellation with contract ending January 2018. Following deliberate breaches of contract, the agreement was terminated with immediate effect to protect our brand and supply of Sadolin in Uganda.
Furthermore, claims that Sadolin is migrating to Plascon are false and misleading. Sadolin has been owned by AkzoNobel since 1987 and founded by Gunnar Sadolin in 1907. It was never owned by the local licensee. The licensee was purely manufacturing, selling and distributing the Sadolin brand on behalf of AkzoNobel. Recent market disruption in supply of the Sadolin brand is due to unlawful activities by the licensee and their new owner.
What does the new partnership with Regal Paints mean for the Ugandan market?
The partnership signals commitment and continuous supply of Sadolin to Uganda and the region as a whole. This also means Investment in Uganda through the establishment of dedicated Sadolin manufacturing plant, world class equipment and technologies and human resources.
Why Regal paints for sales and distribution? Are they not competition? They are a small brand and with minimal market share…
Our partnership with Crown Paints is a strategic one that ensures supply of Sadolin to the entire East African region including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Crown has met all AkzoNobel standards and requirements with many awards and accolades. Crown Paints also has an established distribution network which enables Sadolin to reach a large number of customers across the region. We also have shared values of integrity, quality and innovation.
Where does partnership leave other markets in which the Sadolin brand is trading?
Our partnership with Crown Paints is a strategic one that ensures supply of Sadolin to the entire East African region including Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.Crown Paints also has an established distribution network which enables Sadolin to reach a large number of customers across the region.
What is the value on investment of the plant?
This is a major investment for AkzoNobel which further reassures our commitment to Uganda and the region. The investment is in excess of 10 billion Ugandan Shillings (over 3 million USD) in 2017 alone.
How many staff is the new plant looking to employ?
Sadolin has a dedicated sales and marketing team working solely on the Sadolin brand. We have already employed a considerable amount of people to work on sales and marketing and the team is expected to expand to further improve the efficiencies in our service delivery. A study into the needs of the manufacturing plant is underway and recruitment will start shortly thereafter.
What is the plan for the sales and distribution with Regal Paint?
Sadolin has a dedicated sales and marketing team working solely on the Sadolin brand. The partnership with Crown Paints will enable both Crown and Sadolin to tap into economies of scale with regards to sales and distribution.
Is there any legal action going to be taken against Kansai Plascon especially with the over labeling of Sadolin packs?
We have taken the first step in this matter by cancelling our agreement in order to protect the Sadolin brand. We are currently consulting on this matter and a decision will be made and communicated in due course.
What should the Ugandan market and day to day customer expect from Sadolin relaunch and new partnership?
Firstly, they should expect to find Sadolin with updated packaging in retail outlets shortly. So, look for the Sadolin name, because if it doesn’t say Sadolin, it is not the original Sadolin Paint.
Everyone can expect the same quality paint and service that they have come to enjoy from Sadolin.
Wont the current messaging of Sadolin and Kansai Plascon all claiming Sadolin’ heritage further confuse the market?
I think it is important for the market to have insight into the Sadolin story. Sadolin has a rich history that started when Gunnar Sadolin founded Sadolin Farver in 1907 – a concern focused on artist’s paints and printing inks. Five years later in 1912, Sadolin Farver merged with Holmblad to create an organisation with paint manufacturing capabilities. Between 1912 and 1987, Sadolin &Holmblad underwent significant expansion – first through the production of synthetic organic pigments in 1923 followed by the introduction of a chain of independent paint shops to drive the growth of the Sadolin brand. Akzonobel – previously known as Nobel Industries – acquired Sadolin &Holmblad in 1987 and is the proud custodian of the Sadolin brand in East Africa and across multiple markets internationally.
From a commercial standpoint, what should the distributors and agents expect from the new partnership with Regal Paints?
They can expect the same quality paint and service that they have come to enjoy from Sadolin. We are also crafting (incentives) to ensure good commercial benefits for our agents and distributors while also ensuring our customers still enjoy fair pricing and a good of paints.