Omnia Group acquires a 90% stake in Umongo
Chemical services business Omnia Group has acquired a 90% stake in Umongo Petroleum in a bid to strengthen its sub-Saharan strategy. Umongo’s business is viewed as a perfect complement to Omnia’s chemical business Protea Chemicals, which has a wealth of experience in the distribution of chemicals and polymers in sub-Saharan African countries such as South Africa, Namibia and Kenya. Umongo has supply and distribution agreements for the supply of additives from Chevron Oronite and base oils from Chevron Products Company into the South African and sub-Saharan Africa markets.
Chevron Oronite develops and markets quality additives that improve the performance of fuels and lubricants while Chevron Products Company provides a reliable global base oils supply through its production facilities; Omongo is a supplier of these products to several of the largest lubricant, oil and petroleum companies.
The addition of Umongo’s base oil, additive and lubricant business to Protea Chemicals will broaden its current product offering and create multiple opportunities for it to grow and expand its business.
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Umongo recently acquired 100% of Orbichem Petrochemicals, the distributor of the Ergon range of products in South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. Omnia will acquire the 90% stake in Umongo for R780-million, which will see the company become a subsidiary of Omnia, falling under the chemicals division. However, Umongo will continue to operate as a stand-alone entity within Omnia.
Rod Humphris, group managing director of Omnia: “The group has a strong balance sheet and over the last two years we have been in a cash-positive position. Secondly, we saw a gap and acquiring Umongo will be good for our chemicals division, because the base oil is an important product range we are not involved in,” he said.
Based in Johannesburg, South Africa and with operations in 15 African countries and six international countries, Omnia has more than six decades of experience with units in Australasia, Brazil and Mauritius and clients in other regions such as Europe, South America and South-East Asia.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.