- Erisco Foods Exits Nigeria, Moves to China
A leading indigenous local tomato paste manufacturer, Erisco Foods Limited, has made good its threat of shutting down the $150bn plant and relocating its manufacturing base to a location outside Nigeria.
The Chief Executive Officer, Erisco Foods Limited, Chief Eric Umeofia, announced on Tuesday that the company was winding down operations preparatory for its final exit from the country.
He said that he was moving the factory to China where he already had a thriving business, adding that from there, he would be manufacturing and exporting tomato paste back to Nigeria, as it was far cheaper doing so than producing locally.
According to him, 1,500 employees of the firm will be retrenched in a process that will span six to nine months, as the company relocates, adding that the retrenchment, which will take place in batches, had already commenced with the first batch of workers being sent home.
After months of complaint about lack of access to foreign exchange for the purchase of raw materials and machinery, high cost of running his factory in Nigeria and the influx of imported tomato paste, Umeofia had issued a 30-day ultimatum that if the issues were not resolved, he would move his factory outside Nigeria.
The Erisco Foods CEO stated that he had already incurred a loss of over N3bn in the past one year and blamed the Central Bank of Nigeria for withholding foreign exchange from local manufacturers, while approving same for importers of tomato paste.
He faulted CBN’s declaration that it had ceased to allocate forex to manufacturers after it floated the naira, adding, “No bank can pay you forex unless the CBN has approved the Form ‘M’, which is a form permitting you to import.”
Erisco is not the only tomato paste manufacturer shutting down in Nigeria. The Group Vice President, Dangote Industries Limited, Alhaji Sani Dangote, said in October that the group had stopped tomato paste production at its $20m factory, which was established in March.
When confronted with Umeofia’s allegation that the CBN was controlling the allocation of forex to bank customers, the apex bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said the central bank was only checking the requests for forex to ensure that they were not to import the 41 items restricted from access to forex.
On the allegation that some Chinese and Indian firms were favoured in the allocation of forex above Nigerians, Okoroafor also said some of the firms were involved in packaging of Nigeria’s frozen fish for export.
Lafarge Africa Board Proposes N30.60bn Dividend, Lower Than Previous Year
Lafarge Africa’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend payout of N30.60 billion for the year ended December 2023, a reduction from the previous year’s dividend.
The proposed dividend translates to N1.90 per unit of shares and awaits approval from shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.
In a corporate announcement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Lafarge Africa disclosed that the proposed dividend is payable from the Pioneer Reserve to shareholders registered as of March 28, 2024.
Despite the lower dividend proposal, Lafarge Africa recorded an increase in revenue to N405 billion, marking an 8.6% rise from the previous year’s N373 billion.
However, the company’s post-tax profit experienced a 4.7% decline, amounting to N51.14 billion, attributed mainly to the devaluation of the naira.
Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, expressed confidence in the company’s performance despite economic challenges.
He highlighted the growth in revenue and an improved operating margin, despite pressures from inflation and currency devaluation.
Looking forward, Lafarge Africa remains optimistic about the construction sector’s growth in Nigeria, despite prevailing economic challenges.
The company aims to leverage its market opportunities while maintaining a focus on sustainability and stakeholder value.
South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Predicts Return of Major Players to Nigeria Despite Recent Exodus
South African billionaire Christo Wiese remains optimistic about Nigeria’s economic prospects, predicting the eventual return of major players despite a recent exodus from the West African nation.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Wiese explained that it is impossible to ignore Nigeria’s large and growing population, “how do you ignore an economy like this?”
Wiese, the former chairman of Shoprite Holdings Ltd., acknowledges the challenges faced by businesses in Nigeria, where recent currency woes and policy missteps have contributed to an exodus of international companies.
Procter & Gamble Co. and Shoprite are among the global conglomerates that have announced their departure from Africa’s most populous nation.
However, Wiese sees the recent exits as temporary setbacks rather than a long-term trend. He believes that the allure of Nigeria’s vast consumer market and its economic potential will eventually draw major players back.
Despite the current uncertainty, Wiese remains confident in Nigeria’s future, emphasizing the need for governments to adopt correct policies and for investors to exercise patience.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s single-commodity economy vulnerabilities, Wiese highlights the resilience of the nation’s economy and its potential for growth and development.
He suggests that foreign investors, including South African ones, are adopting a wait-and-see approach, anticipating a time when the economy stabilizes and favorable policies are in place.
Seplat Energy Names Udoma Udo Udoma as Independent Non-Executive Chairman, Bello Rabiu as Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Seplat Energy, a prominent Nigerian energy company listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the London Stock Exchange, has made significant changes to its board leadership.
In a recent announcement, the company revealed that Udoma Udo Udoma has been appointed as the new Independent Non-Executive Chairman, succeeding Basil Omiyi, who is set to retire on March 31, 2024.
Udoma Udo Udoma, a distinguished lawyer and seasoned board administrator, brings a wealth of experience to Seplat Energy.
He holds degrees from St. Catherine’s College, Oxford, and has had a remarkable career spanning various sectors, including petroleum, energy, and natural resources.
Udoma has served on numerous large-sized company boards, including UAC Nigeria Plc and Union Bank Plc, and held key public sector appointments, such as Chairman of the Corporate Affairs Commission and Minister of Budget & National Planning.
In addition to Udoma’s appointment, Seplat Energy announced the selection of Bello Rabiu as the new Senior Independent Non-Executive Director, effective April 1, 2024.
Rabiu, a seasoned professional with extensive experience in the petroleum industry, holds multiple degrees and has served in various capacities at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The appointments come as part of Seplat Energy’s commitment to upholding strong corporate governance practices and ensuring a smooth transition of leadership.
Both Udoma Udo Udoma and Bello Rabiu are expected to play pivotal roles in guiding Seplat Energy as it continues to expand its operations and consolidate its position as a leading energy company in Nigeria and beyond.
In a statement, Basil Omiyi, the outgoing Chairman of Seplat Energy, expressed confidence in the newly appointed leaders, emphasizing their capabilities to steer the company towards further growth and success.
The appointments underscore Seplat Energy’s dedication to fostering excellence and innovation in the energy sector while meeting the evolving needs of its stakeholders and contributing to Nigeria’s energy transition efforts.
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