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THE BIG DEAL | The Cap at Portland

I currently work for a paint brand franchise in West Africa and one of the things I love doing is understanding the “big” brands, studying their models and strategies. This helps me in the way I want to carry out my tasks because the aim is for the brand I work for to become a “big” name too among locals.

Whether we agree or not, we are competing with these brands, we are hoping to take a chunk of their market share. That’s what brands do after all. Whether you do this intentionally or unintentionally, you are somehow trying to get a percentage of the market share and there is nothing wrong with it. The big brands don’t care about you, they want to expand to accommodate your target audience.

Being very inquisitive and prone to make researches at any hint of something, I made some findings of a paint brand. It’s not an open secret, it’s on public record but many people don’t pay attention to those details. 

I love making research for various reasons but in this regard, I wanted to know more about a competitor brand. Sometimes, it’s good you know your competitors so well. Understanding who you are competing with can make you sit up, it can also clear every shadow of doubt.

Many people know Dulux paint, but not many people know CAP Plc. CAP owns Dulux, their interest is for you to know the brands not necessarily to know them. This explains why CAP Plc official Instagram handle has only 456 followers from 3rd March 2020 to this moment while its child, Dulux Nigeria has 19,200 followers on Instagram as of the time of writing this. 

It is the “big men” that pays attention to CAP Plc; the numerous shareholders who are interested in the CAP stock. It is like the popular saying “put your mouth where your money is”. 

CAP Plc visits Nigerian Stock Exchange

I started by trying to understand CAP Plc. Are they just marketers of a foreign brand; Dulux or is there something more? Well, when talking about CAP’s Dulux, you’d be more correct if you say Dulux Nigeria. CAP Plc owns Dulux Nigeria, not Dulux (the international brand) alongside other brands. CAP is the sole technological licensee of AkzoNobel Coatings International B.V. in Nigeria for which it runs the Dulux brand in Nigeria. 

Dulux Nigeria is a premium decorative paint brand offering both Dulux regular and Dulux Trade. Don’t get confused. Some people believe that one simply means “made in Nigeria” and the other one means “imported”. I don’t know, but I know that in Dulux Nigeria’s tongue, one would mean “very high quality” and another means “very very high quality”.

For clarity sake, Dulux Nigeria is a brand of CAP PLC, a publicly listed company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. CAP Plc is a subsidiary of UAC, a business organisation born out of Unilever but now independent of Unilever. 

UAC Building, Lagos Nigeria

UAC markets brands such as Mr Biggs fast-food restaurants, SWAN Water, Gala, Grand oils, Supreme Ice Cream, etc. Technically, the parent company of Dulux is UAC. You may say that they are the grand-parent of Dulux, all we know is that there is parenting.🤣

Aside from Dulux Paint, CAP Plc also have another brand called “Caplux”. It gets interesting. Caplux isn’t very much focused on Paint production but surface preparation products and foundations needed before topcoat. 

Let’s move a bit away from Cap Plc and its two brands.

Portland Paint & Product Nigeria Ltd is another firm. Guess what? They are also a subsidiary of UAC and they are the makers of Sandtex paint. Sandtex is a popular paint in Nigeria offering a lower range of paint products. Dulux is perceived to be superior to Sandtex but that’s like comparing Infinix to Tecno. That’s a story for another day.

Aside from Sandtex, Portland Paint has another brand called Hempel. Hempel offers professional marine and protective coatings for infrastructures exposed to corrosive and aggressive environments. 

This reminds me a little about Legend Global Resources and Concerns Ltd; the parent company of Permolit Nigeria, a franchise of the Permolit brand founded in Turkey. Legend Global also runs another brand, ISONEM Nigeria, a brand with various waterproofing solutions. Do you see why it reminds me so much of Legend Global? And that’s the organisation I work with presently, serving as the Digital Marketing lead.

Now, we’ve seen these two subsidiaries of UAC, the owners of the popular Mr Biggs, Gala, Supreme Ice Cream and so on; CAP Plc and Portland Paint and Product Nigeria. Although these companies are both UAC companies, they have different management, different brand ambassadors, different business models, different offices with none being allowed to interfere so that both can grow competitively.

Here is the big thing…

On January 19, 2021. Premium Times published that there will be a merger deal between these two subsidiaries. I would want to call them unidentical twin brothers. The merger deal was going to give birth to Nigeria’s BIGGEST paint and chemical industry. 

On July 1, 2021. The merger between UAC’s CAP Plc and Portland Paint became official making it Nigeria’s most capitalized paint and chemical company with a value of over N15.984 billion.

As a result of the merger, Dulux, Caplux, Sandtex and Hempel are now brands of one company. Here is the plan with these diverse products. Each product has its target audience and the segment of the market where it’s meant to play. With the combination of both organisations uniting their wealth of experiences, competitors have some serious catching up to do.

CAP displays it’s brands after the merger.

As a result of this merger, CAP Plc now have 91 official stores in the 36 States of Nigeria. These stores serve as Dulux Colour Centres and Sandtex Experience Centres separately. 

CAP Plc is a very organized business under the leadership of David Wright, who serves as the managing director. Here is what he has to say concerning the merger:

“The decision to pursue the proposed merger is driven by the Board’s strategic plan to aggressively grow within the Nigerian and African markets.

“We believe that the Proposed Merger presents a unique opportunity that will benefit all stakeholders, from shareholders to customers, as well as the broader economy. I am excited by the prospect of an enlarged company with a broader decorative paint portfolio covering the premium, mid-market and affordable segments and the inclusion of marine and protective coatings, all of which will benefit our customers and shareholders.”

Now, I understand that we aren’t merely competing with Dulux. We aren’t even merely competing with CAP Plc. We are dealing with UAC, an organization that has secured a foothold in both premium, mid-market and affordable segments of the market through the merger of Portland Paints and CAP Plc.