There are currently more than 70 oil marketing companies operating in Kenya, with a mix of multinational corporations and locally owned businesses.
According to a report by the Kenya Petroleum Insutry, there are over 1,800 fuelling stations in Kenya. This growth is a testament to the increasing demand for oil and gas products in the country.
Thayu Kabugi Kamau, a billionaire businessman from Muringu village in Murang’a county saw an opportunity in this sector. He decided to tap into it in the year 2000.
Thayu Kabugi established Astrol Petroleum Company and served as its founder and director until 2019. The company has operated for over 23 years.
Mzee Thayu was born into a humble family in Murang’a. He was a close ally to Kenya’s founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Despite the opportunity to exploit the opportunities of the first regime, Kabugi opted to build his business empire through sheer hard work.
After making it in life, Mzee Thayu Kabugi returned to his home, Murang’a. He enjoyed philanthropy in his ancestral home where he was always handy in supporting development projects.
In 2017, former president Uhuru Kenyatta awarded him the Elder of Burning Spear (EBS) award.
Thayu Kabugi died on 20th February 2019, aged 94 years at the Nairobi hospital. He is survived by his 10 children.
As a nationalist who believed in hard work and building strong friendship bonds, Thayu’s legacy lives on in Astrol Petroleum.
Astrol Petroleum is a Kenyan company that is involved in the supply and distribution of petroleum products. The company provides products to a range of clients, including motorists, power stations, agribusiness, and industrial manufacturers.
They take pride in their ability to serve customers effectively. Mzee Thayu, a strict disciplinarian, instilled core values into the company’s culture.
Astrol Petroleum’s values include integrity, trust, respect and servant leadership. These values are reflected in the way the company conducts its business.
The fuel distributor has established numerous filling stations in various regions of the country, including Murang’a, Ruiru, Lenana road, Thika road, Runda, Northern Bypass, Athiriver, Mombasa road and Utawala.
The company has created job opportunities for over 300 individuals; in the company’s offices and also filling stations. Additionally, their presence in the petroleum industry has had a positive impact on the economy by creating indirect employment opportunities.
Following the demise of Astrol’s patron, James Mwangi, Kabugi’s son, took the reins of leadership. He serves as the company’s Managing Director. Mwangi revealed that he learnt from his father how to handle the business.
“My late dad had been an entrepreneur in the oil industry and so I started assisting him with some of his work before going to study International Business administration,” he recalled in a past interview.
“I continued to run my errands during my time at university, and after i graduated I decided to continue with him rather than get another job.”