Home Business STIHL opens new subsidiary in Kenya and celebrates 25th anniversary in South Africa

STIHL opens new subsidiary in Kenya and celebrates 25th anniversary in South Africa

by Grace Kisembo

STIHL is laying the foundations for further growth and demonstrating its commitment to the important African market. The company has opened its second subsidiary on the African continent in Kenya and celebrated the 25th anniversary of its subsidiary in South Africa. “Africa is an important market for STIHL, and we look forward to growing with both our business and our dealer network on this continent,” said Norbert Pick, STIHL Executive Board Member for Marketing and Sales, who attended the ceremonies together with employees, authorised dealers, service providers and suppliers at the end of August.

An office was set up in Kenya in 2017 to offer training and product demonstrations, especially for agricultural cooperatives. “It quickly became clear that despite ongoing promotion activities, we lacked a sales structure based on a dense dealer network in the eastern African countries. Such organisations are one of the key success factors that have made STIHL the global market leader,” said Pick. Francois Marais, Managing Director of the STIHL company in Kenya, explained what happened next: “We made the decision in late 2020 to increase our investment and turn the office in Kenya into a fully-fledged STIHL subsidiary with marketing, training, logistics and sales functions. This means we can leverage the potential in eastern Africa even more effectively.” A roughly 1,000 square-metre office between the airport and the centre of Nairobi was rented and extensively renovated, and has now been officially opened. Sebastian Groth, the German ambassador to Kenya, joined the ceremony in person. The new subsidiary currently employs 16 people and supplies STIHL products to the dealer network in Kenya, as well as in Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia. An additional warehouse in Nairobi is operated by Fargo Courier, an external logistics provider.

The South African subsidiary ANDREAS STIHL Ltd. in Pietermaritzburg has belatedly celebrated its 25th anniversary following a one-year delay due to the pandemic and other causes. In June 2021, the company’s warehouse was destroyed and the administrative building suffered significant damage during the riots and looting in the area around the port city of Durban. STIHL immediately put together a crisis team and set up a temporary warehouse in Johannesburg, while a building in Pietermaritzburg was rented to house the offices. Pick thanked the workforce for their untiring commitment to the company: “Despite facing major challenges in 2021, our South African subsidiary generated record revenue – up by 5 per cent year on year. All I can say to our colleagues in South Africa is: you achieved the impossible!” Hayden Hutton, Managing Director of STIHL South Africa, also expressed his gratitude: “Such a turnaround after a catastrophic event like that is a testament to the teamwork and community spirit within the STIHL family. It’s unbelievable what we have achieved together.”

STIHL is currently in talks to purchase the building it is renting in Pietermaritzburg, where the administration, training, technology, sales and management functions are to be based. Plans are also in place to relocate the warehouse to Gauteng and outsource its operation to an external logistics provider to ensure a more efficient supply of STIHL products to dealers.

STIHL established an office in Pietermaritzburg in 1996 and began expanding the company’s market presence in Africa. STIHL South Africa currently has 39 employees.

The STIHL Group develops, manufactures and distributes power tools for professional forestry and agriculture as well as for garden and landscape maintenance, the construction sector and private garden owners. The product range is complemented by digital solutions and services. Products are distributed through authorised dealers and STIHL’s online shops, which will be expanded internationally over the next few years – including 42 sales and marketing subsidiaries, about 120 importers and more than 55,000 service dealers in over 160 countries. STIHL produces in own plants in seven countries: Germany, the USA, Brazil, Switzerland, Austria, China and the Philippines. Since 1971 STIHL has been the world’s top-selling chain saw brand. The company was founded in 1926 and is based in Waiblingen near Stuttgart. In 2021, STIHL achieved a worldwide sales volume of 5.06 billion euros with a workforce of 20,094.

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