The petroleum industry is controlled by multi-national corporation and a few super wealthy individuals in Kenya. One of the few locals who owned a successful oil company in Kenya was Thayu Kamau Kabugi, a billionaire with roots from Murang’a.
Here is the story of Mr Thayu, the founder of Astrol Petroleum Company limited, as told by WoK.
Mr. Thayu Kamau Kabugi (E.B.S)
Mr. Thayu Kamau Kabugi served as the chairman of the petroleum company until his death on 20th February 2019 while aged 94 years old at the Nairobi hospital. The entrepeneur was born into a humble family of three siblings in Muringu village, Muranga County. The billionaire was a close associate of founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta and even though he had an opportunity to take advantage of opportunities during the regime, he chose to build his wealth through sheer hard work.
After he made it to the top he never forgot where he came from and most Muranga residents can attest to this. He participated in philanthropic activities and supported development projects in the Mount Kenya region. Due to his selfless acts he was awarded the Elder of the Burning Spear Award (EBS) by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2017.
Astrol Petroleum Limited is an oil marketing company that was established in 2000 by the late Mzee Thayu Kamau Kabugi. The company mainly specializes in the supply and distribution of petroleum products in Kenya via its chain of petrol stations named ‘Astrol Petrol Station.’ The company serves motorists, power stations, agribusiness and industrial manufacturers across the country.
The Company has been in existence for 22 years now and supplies over 1,000 clients with petroleum products. Driven by its core values which are Integrity, Trust, Respect and Servant leadership, the company aims to be a world class petroleum company known for high quality products and innovative services not only in Kenya but across Africa.
Leadership, Branches and Services
The company mainly operates in Kenya where it operates ten filling stations in different parts of the country including Runda, Northern Bypass, Thika road, Lenana road, Mombasa road, Rironi, Muranga, Athi River, Ruiru, and Utawala. The company has created job opportunities to over 300 individuals who work either in the company’s offices or at the filling stations.
Some of the products and services offered by the company include fuel, lubricants, car service bays, tire center, car wash and convenient stores. At the helm of the company’s leadership is Thayu’s son James Mwangi who serves as the group Managing Director (MD). During a past interview with one of the local dailies, Mwangi revealed that he learnt leadership skills from his late father.
“I have had a passion for it from a young age. My late dad had been an entrepreneur in the oil industry and so I started assisting him with some of his work before going to university to study International Business administration. I continued to run my errands during my time at university, and after I graduated I decided to continue with him rather than get another job. The faith my father placed in me has resulted in getting to this point. We were a great team, and he gave me hope. He was also uncompromising on his values relating to hard work and integrity, something which has stayed with me ever since,” he said.