Kenyan Paint Market

Buildings can be identified by their shapes, height, location or colour. However, colour is, arguably, one of the easiest ways of distinguishing one building from another. Decorative paints and coatings are the options used by builders to give a building colour while protecting and maintaining the surfaces from external elements such as the weather. However, there is more to paint and coatings than just the colours and the advertisements on TV and billboards. There is a market: producers and consumers. Ever wondered who manufactures these paints? Or how big this market is in Kenya? We will highlight some of the companies in Kenya that are in the business of making paints and coatings used in construction.

Currently, there are 4 main players in the paint manufacturing business in Kenya. Crown Paints, Basco Paints, Sadolin and Solai Paints. The paint market can be divided into two areas: Premium paints market and Economy paints market.

Crown Paints, also Crown Berger, is the only paint company listed at the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Formed in 1958 it is the market leader in the paint market in Kenya, controlling approximately 65% of the market. In 2013 Crown Paints announced that it wants to grow its premium paints market share from 65% to 75%. The manufacturer is also seeking a 25% control of the economy paints market in Kenya. Regionally, Crown Paints operates Regal Paints in Uganda and it announced plans of setting up a US$ 3 million paint manufacturing plant in Tanzania.

Basco Paints manufactures the Duracoat brand of paint. Founded in 1976, the family-run business has a capacity of producing at least 22 million litres of paint per year. It is the second largest paint company in Kenya in terms of market share. Basco Paints was the first manufacturer to launch Ecofriendly Emulsion Paints or green paints with low VOC content dubbed the Duracoat Ecofriendly Emulsion range. Basco also launched the Duracoat Antibacterial Range of paints as well as the Duracoat Lead and Chrome Free range of paints. Basco Paints operates the Duracoat Expert Training Centre, the firm’s flagship CSR project, where painters are turned into experts and they are trained for one week, examined and then certified. So far over 1,000 certified experts have graduated from the centre.

Sadolin Paints (East African) Ltd has been operating in Kenya since 1959. It was then a subsidiary of a Danish paint manufacturer, Sadolin and Holmblad, which was acquired by Akzo Nobel Coatings in the 1980s. Since this acquisition, Sadolin Paints (EA) Ltd has been in a long-term technology transfer arrangement with Akzo Nobel Coatings.


Frost & Sullivan, a global market research firm, placed revenues from paints and coatings in Kenya and Tanzania markets at US$ 123.3 million. The firm projected that the revenues would rise to US$ 188.5 million by the year 2018. In a recent press release, Frost & Sullivan announced that the growth in this market can be attributed to increased investment in infrastructural projects by the governments as well as maintenance programmes in both the public and private sectors. It is worth noting that Kenya has some of the largest real estate development projects in the East African region.

The Kenyan paint and coatings market is also driven by aggressive marketing and branding campaigns by the manufacturing companies. In order to succeed, these two areas of investment help the paint manufacturers in reducing costs and have enabled them to respond to customer needs.

There are other factors, opportunities and challenges that face the paints and coatings industry in Kenya. These shall be covered in the next features on paint.

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