Dawa Limited acquires KEL Chemicals


As the drug manufacturer seeks to penetrate the fertilizer market, Dawa Limited, which is part of the Dawa Group, has expanded its paddle to acquire Kel Chemicals targeting the fast growing chemicals industry. Kel Chemicals, founded in 1977, is the oldest and largest manufacturer both in East and Central Africa of single Superphosphate fertilizer and sulphuric acid, and is intended to enable the conglomerate diversify into the expanding market. The company also manufactures aluminium sulphate.

The group Managing Director, Ajay Patel, is a graduate of University of Wisconsin, and a fierce business man running big projects in Thika, where he was born and brought up. The doctor is now seeking to accomplish the strategy of expanding their manufacturing capacity while spreading their tentacles to a number of markets in Africa. Under his leadership, the group is set to experience phenomenal growth.

Dawa Group is further set to broaden its portfolio with a modern veterinary plant in Thika. Its business interests span across healthcare and real estate, with flagship projects like Casaurina Heights and Temple View Apartments on Forest road, Albizzia Downs Estate and the Ananas Mall, the first ever in Thika. With a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in Nairobi, and over 500 employees, it is a signal that things are looking up.

Dr.-Ajay-Patel-300x262The genesis of the group began with the acquisition of the 42 year old company – Dawa Limited by Medisel Kenya Limited in 2004. By virtue of its main product’s lasting brand value, Dawanol, the group is now called the Dawa Group. Although Dawa Limited was at crossroads at the time, it was given a new lease of life by the acquisition and is now one of top three pharmaceutical producing firms in the region with its footprints in over 10 African countries. Under the new management, the company has realised an extraordinary superior growth rate even by international industry standards, of nearly 275% since 2009, mainly achieved through improved operations and an emphatic footprint in the region.

“I would like to see us accomplish the strategy we have laid out. This involves expanding our manufacturing capacity and growing our footprint to a total of 30 markets in Africa over the next five years. I see myself spending more time in expanding the group with competent and experienced staff running the day to day operations,” says Ajay in a past interview with “How we made it in Africa”, adding that the main reason for his success in business is due to a great team around him, Group Chairman Raju Mohindra, Group Finance Director Reema Mohindra, as well as other senior staff.

With the acquisition of Kel Chemicals in Thika, DAWA group will now be able to expand into the chemical and fertilizer business and continue to reduce the nation’s dependency on imported chemicals, fertilisers and pharmaceuticals.

Kel Chemicals is renowned for its quality and customer centric focus. The company works hand in hand with the farmers and research institutes around the country to drive science based factual knowledge that they use to educate farmers on the correct dosing of fertilizer to optimise soil structure and improve crop yields economically.

Apart from offering free soil testing, the company has also been part of research conducted by Moi University that found that crop yields per acre nearly doubled for maize and tripled for wheat over a period of 4 years as a result of using Kelphos, the company’s top fertiliser brand. The study also recorded an improvement in soil structure and pH levels, which are important indicators of soil fertility from using products from Kel Chemicals.

The parent and flagship company of the Dawa Group is Medisel Kenya Ltd, which over the last 20 years has become one of the top pharmaceutical companies in Kenya with a turnover of nearly Sh2 Billion.  It continues to grow by leaps and bounds, now exporting to over half a dozen countries in East and Central Africa – with big markets existing in Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda. The company will be moving into its new headquarters located in Thika, next to Mount Kenya University. The new premises will also house the ultra modern veter inary plant with warehouses.

The company has over 200 employees with a strong and experienced sales and marketing force that keeps it ahead of its competition on many levels. Medisel has a strong and reputed name in the medical fraternity across East and Central Africa supplying quality drugs and allied hospital disposables and equipment. It is fully committed to quality and has been awarded the Diamond Mark of Quality by Kenya Bureau of Standards for its products including ALUM, which is used for water purification.


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