German multinational Bitzer opens subsidiary in Kenya in Africa expansion

Bitzer's Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Mr. Gianni Parlanti (Second right) demonstrating the latest compressor for refrigeration together with Mr Stefan Leiti, Bitzer's Manager Director Middle East in a Nairobi hotel on Thursday. Looking on is Bitzer Kenya representative Mr. Tariq Zaffar (right) and Frigitech Supplies Technical Director Mr Mohammed Arif .[Photo: Jonah Onyango/STANDARD].

NAIROBI: Bitzer, the world’s largest independent manufacturer of commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning technologies has opened an office in Nairobi as it seeks to expand presence in Africa.

The Kenyan office is the second one for the German multi-national after South Africa to tap into  the increasing demand for reliable refrigeration and air conditioning technologies in Kenya and the East Africa region. In 2015, Bitzer generated sales worth Sh75 billion (US$750 million) globally.

Bitzer’s entry into Kenya is part of its larger strategy to expand its presence in Africa with plans to open fully-fledged subsidiaries in Nigeria and Senegal in the next few months.

“Bitzer has known for some time that Kenya is one of Africa’s most important markets. The plan to found Bitzer Kenya came from company owner Peter Schaufler, who passed away unexpectedly last year,” said Bitzer’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer Gianni Parlanti during the official opening at Crowne Plaza hotel, Nairobi on Thursday evening.

He added: “With the opening of Bitzer Kenya office, delivery of goods will now be more convenient and faster since it will be directly from Germany and not imported through Dubai as before.”

Bitzer, which was founded in 1934 and has over 3,400 employees across the globe, provides technologies for  industrial and commercial refrigeration for the growing retail supermarket sector, floriculture and horticulture industry, meat and fish processing, restaurant chains, catering and dairy production among others.

The firm also provides large-scale air-conditioning solutions for facilities such as hospitals, schools, shopping malls, office buildings and manufacturing sites among others.

Bitzer primarily manufacturers compressors that drive refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. They produce reciprocating compressors, which tend to be the most common solution for refrigeration, as well as the rarer screw and scroll compressors.

Bitzer also produces condensing units and pressure vessels. Its production sites are in Germany, US, Brazil, China, Indonesia, Australia and Denmark.

The Bitzer Kenya office in Nairobi is legally connected to Bitzer headquarters in Germany but reports to Bitzer Middle East.

Mr Stefan Leitl, Managing Director of Bitzer Middle East said: “Kenya is an important economy and will become even more so in years to come, resulting in greater demand for refrigeration and air conditioning technologies which work reliably in demanding climates,”

He added: “We would like to promote the refrigeration and air conditioning industry in Kenya as a whole and are in the process of acquiring universities here as collaboration partners.”

Bitzer is also planning to build a certified service Centre in Nairobi within a year, so that users can have access to technical services including maintenance, spare parts and training.

Bitzer Kenya local representative Mr. Tariq Zaffar said the new office will help tackle the challenge posed by counterfeit products from China in the market.

“ We are now in a better position to support users of Bitzer products in Kenya and the region to immediately verify if their products are genuine or not. This can be done through a smartphone application,” he said.