Dalichand Shah: Tycoon Behind Capwell Industries Ltd Which Owns Soko Ugali And Pearl Rice

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Dalichand Shah Tycoon Behind Capwell Industries Ltd Which Owns Soko Ugali And Pearl Rice
Collage image of Capwell Industries Limited (CIL) CEO Rajan Shah and CIL products. |Photo| Courtesy|

Dalichand Shah is the owner and Group Chairman of Capwell Industries Limited. He founded the company in 1999 with a milling factory in Thika and has since grown to diversify their products offering to over 30 different nutritious food products.

Some of the brands owned by Capwell Industries include; Soko, Amaize, Ranee (Rice & pasta), pearl (rice & pasta), CIL, and yola.

Dalichand is a notable figure in Kenya’s manufacturing industry and has been recognized for his philanthropic efforts. Here is his journey as narrated by WoK.

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Background

The businessman’s family immigrated to Kenya from India over 100 years ago in 1911. He began his career working at the family bakery with his brothers in 1962. He remained at the company before branching out in 1996.

Dalichand founded Capwell Industries Limited (CIL) in 1999 as a maize miller. The plant he had installed at the time processed 240 tonnes per day and in 2003, the company began processing rice.

Dalichand Shah: Tycoon Behind Capwell Industries Ltd Which Owns Soko Ugali And Pearl Rice
File image of Capwell Industries Limited CEO Rajan Shah. |Photo| Courtesy|

The company ventured in porridge flours and pulses in 2007.

“Over the years we have grown our capacity to nearly 400 tonnes per day (TPD) of installed maize milling capacity. Our milling capacity of rice is presently 100 TPD, for porridge flours is 60 TPD, while the pulses range has 100 TPD capacity,” Rajan Shah, the CEO told CEO Business Week in a past interview.

According to the CEO, CIL has two maize milling plants producing 270 TPD and  120 TPD respectively. The second plant was acquired from a neighbouring miller. The company boasts modern and technologically advanced milling systems and superior packaging machines for all its products.

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To maintain its position ahead of the pack, CIL invested an additional USD10 million (approximately Ksh1.1 billion) in a wheat flour milling plant. The new Alapala plant boasts pre-cleaning equipment and a storage silo with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes and processes 250 tonnes per day.

“We are now 1 year in wheat milling; before we were contract manufacturing then selling under our brand. Wheat is the second most consumed staple in the country, hence it would have been unfair if it wasn’t part of our product portfolio, because we wanted a whole range of staples. It is a tough segment because of the excess capacity/overcapacity in the wheat milling industry.

“Demand is growing but not at the same rate as the capacity. One year on, we have introduced our wheat flour under the Soko brand and because we have a very strong brand promise under Soko, we will continue to fulfill that brand promise, a reason we are equally doing well with the Soko home baking flour,” Rajan stated.

As the company looks to expand its market dominance across the country and the region, the CEO notes that innovation has been an important part of ensuring their products stay ahead of the competition.

“Innovation is one of our key values as a company and is one of our critical success factors.

“Our focus on innovation is not only in terms of the product, but in terms of the people and processes as well. Our innovations have also enabled us to make our processes more efficient and to deliver better food safety, including improving testing methodologies that reduce aflatoxins and other contaminants,” the CEO added.

CIL also boasts an experienced staff comprising competent shift millers, electricians and mechanical fitters who run the company’s day-to-day shifts.

The company has grown into a market leader over the years with its products found in retailers in a majority of locations in Kenya. The company has partnered with leading distributors, ensuring their expansion in the region.

CIL’s products have also crossed the borders into neighbouring countries in East Africa, including Uganda and Rwanda.

“Part of our strategy is to grow regionally into neighbouring countries. Our rice used to go across the borders but because of tariff issues, we are not able to export our rice into Uganda and Tanzania. The duty imposed made it uncompetitive. As a company, regional markets are part of our growth agenda; we want a presence in the regional markets as well,” says Rajan.

Dalichand Shah: Tycoon Behind Capwell Industries Ltd Which Owns Soko Ugali And Pearl Rice
File image of Capwell Industries Limited CEO Rajan Shah. |Photo| Courtesy|

CIL is ranked one of the leading producers of maize meal in the Nairobi and Central Kenya regions. The company’s Soko maize flour brand is considered one of the most preferred among consumers in the said region. CIL also manufactures the premium Amaize maize flour brand which is quickly gaining popularity in the maize flour market.

Since the company started processing rice in 2003, it boasts a number of varieties and brands including Pearl Kenya Pishori Rice, CIL Long Grain rice and the Ranee Family rice range (Ranee Premium Basmati, Ranee Classic, Ranee Chef Special Basmati, Ranee Every Day and Ranee Biryani Long Grain rice). The rice products are packed 1kg, 2kg, 5kg and 10kg bags.

The company also produces spaghetti and pasta products under the Ranee brand packaged in 400 gram packs and also pulses packaged in 500g and 1kg packs. These pulses include green grams, locally known as Ndengu, masoor dal (Kamande), cowpeas, black beans (Njahi), red beans, pigeon peas, and popcorns among others under the Pearl Brand.

CIL has two porridge varieties, Pure Wimbi and Wimbi Mix under the Soko brand name.

The company also produces milk products under the brand name, Yola, which comes in four flavours; vanilla, banana, strawberry and mango. The drink comes in two sizes; 250ml and 450ml which cost Ksh40.00 and Ksh60.00 respectively.

“Yola cereal milk drink is a first-to-market, leading-edge trend to quench both hunger and thirst at the same time,” Rajan Shah said at its official launch.

The company currently employs over 400 people, and impacts another 2,000 directly, from farmers to employees, to distributors.

Dalichand Shah: Tycoon Behind Capwell Industries Ltd Which Owns Soko Ugali And Pearl Rice
File image of Capwell Industries Limited CEO Rajan Shah. |Photo| Courtesy|
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