Sadolin Paints’ Public Relations Director, Sanjay Tana, said there can only be one Sadolin, thrashing claims by Plascon that Sadolin, in Uganda for generations, is now Plascon.
The current paint war erupted after Japanese paint giant Kansai Plascon wholly acquired Sadolin’s franchise, Sadolin Paints East Africa, in the region.
Sadolin Paints East Africa, then a licensee of 110-year-old Dutch paint giant Akzo Nobel, relinquished its entire value chain to Plascon, which wasted no time in storming the market with the line that “Sadolin is now Plascon”.
Plascon, the world’s fourth biggest paint maker, also moved swiftly and changed all Sadolin advertising platforms, paid for Akzo Nobel, including billboards and painting on fences of construction sites.
According to the terms of the Sadolin franchise, if Sadolin Paints East Africa wanted to terminate the deal it was supposed to keep Sadolin Paints products on the market for a year, a clause it not only disregarded but also started rebranding Sadolin products as Plascon.
Plascon moved a step further, going to the courts and slapping an injunction on Sadolin not to be in the market.
It took Sadolin over a month to shake off the injunction, a timeframe Plascon exploited in its favour.
Plascon not only claimed that “Sadolin is now Plascon”, influencing public perception, but also changed the entire Sadolin distribution and value chain into Plascon’s.
Sadolin Paints was caught flat-footed because although it owned the Sadolin paint formulation and quality assurance, it never owned the distribution and value chain, which was Sadolin Paints East Africa’s.
So when Plascon came dangling a bigger carrot, Sadolin Paints East Africa threw all caution, jumped ship, embraced it, flouted the licensing terms, leaving Sadolin Paints high, dry and blue.
Hosting journalists at Acacia Mall in Kampala, Tana admitted that Sadolin was caught flat-footed.
Tana, a former member of parliament for Tororo Municipality, said despite Sadolin’s bitter divorce with Sadolin Paints East Africa, Sadolin still remains Sadolin, adding that there can’t be another paint claiming to be Sadolin.
The tricky bit is that since Akzo Nobel never owned the Sadolin Paints East Africa plants and yet transferred quality paint-making expertise, all went to Plascon.
Tana said even then, Akzo Nobel’s ingenuity in making “the best paint” cannot be stolen by another company.
He said Akzo Nobel has since partnered with Nairobi-based Crown Berger, East Africa’s biggest paint maker, to distribute its Sadolin products.
Crown Berger are the owners of Uganda’s Regal Paints, which Sadolin is partnering with in the country.
Tana said it is only a matter of time before Sadolin Paints regains its position as the Number One paint in the market.
Tana accused sections of the mainstream media, particularly newspapers, of conniving with their competitors to tell a biased narrative and deliberately not telling the whole story as is.