This is the sixth installment of a series on Wamda featuring companies in emerging markets around the world.
As the Kenyan economy has expanded, so has Athi River Steel, a Kenyan steel smelting company that was started in 1996. Athi Steel produces hot rolled steel products from recycled scrap metals, including building steel fasteners, steel springs, and building and structural materials.
Athi Steel employs over 800 people, many of whom had received no formal training or education prior to joining and the company has focused on providing comprehensive training for all staff.
The process of steel smelting is highly polluting, emitting smoke and particles from the furnaces and producing slag as a by-product. With the help of Aureos investment, through the Aureos East Africa Fund, Athi Steel has introduced a number of measures to mitigate this, including construction of a higher smoke stack with an air pollution control device to manage and reduce emissions.
With furnaces, smoke and particle emissions and heavy machinery onsite, health and safety standards are also an important consideration for Athi Steel. Aureos invested US$5.5m in Athi steel in 2006, allowing the company to set up quality training, health and safety, and environmental programs.
Since the investment, Athi Steel has seen its annual turnover almost double from US$9m to US$16m.
“Expansion on this scale and speed has been – and will remain - our single biggest challenge. And it is here that Aureos has really provided immense value. As we have grown, we need to be much more aware of the wider impact of our operations; on our workforce, our community and our environment,” says CFO Suresh Aggarwal in the report.
Download the full case study (in the grey box to your right) to read more about how the company turned itself around.