HFMP And FMN Combination: The Making of A National Champion
The contribution of key players in the Nigerian food industry has grown in value and relevance over the years. According to a report by the World Trade Organization (WTO), Nigeria is ranked as the largest food market in Africa, with significant investment in the local industry and a high level of imports. As of now, the food and beverage sector is estimated to contribute 22.5% of the manufacturing industry value, and 4.6% of Nigeria’s GDP. In another report compiled by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), it was confirmed that the food sector brought in an average of 57% of Gross domestic product (GDP) and generated 64.5% of export earnings.
Founded in 1972, Honeywell Group began as a food trading company servicing the West African region before pivoting to importing a variety of goods for the domestic Nigerian market. Now operating an investment holding company based in Nigeria, Honeywell Group Limited has diversified its business l into different sectors which are referred to as portfolio companies. The Group has evolved to become an investment company participating in major sectors of the Nigerian economy including foods, real estate, leisure and hospitality, energy, infrastructure, and financial services.
Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP), one of the portfolio companies of Honeywell Group Limited and a market leader in milling, processing & packaging of flour and other wheat-based products in Nigeria has continued to contribute immensely to the growth and performance of the Nigerian economy. With over 20 years of experience, HFMP has gathered extensive knowledge and skill in the production of flour and a range of flour-based products. The company has superior operational efficiency and remains a dominant player in the food industry in Nigeria.
Operating on a total installed capacity of 2,610 metric tonnes per day, HFMP manufactures a variety of products from wheat meals, semolina, noodles, superfine flours to spaghetti, macaroni, brown flour, amongst others.
During the company’s recent Annual General Meeting (AGM) which was held on October 14, 2021, the company recorded an all-time high revenue of N109.5 billion, an increase of 36% over N80.4 billion for the financial year ending March 2021. The company’s Operating Profit also grew faster than revenue at 39%, from N5.4 billion in FY 2019 to N7.6 billion in FY 2020.
Just recently, the Honeywell Group Limited announced the signing of an agreement with Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc (FMN) on the proposed combination of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc and Flour Mills of Nigeria, another leading Nigerian food manufacturer to further enhance food security in the country and create a more resilient national champion in the Nigerian foods industry. This agreement will have Honeywell Group Limited dispose of a 71.69% stake it has in HFMP to FMN.
Building on the achievements and improved performances of HFMP and FMN year-on-year, it can be seen that this is a combination of two giants in the food manufacturing industry in Nigeria. With more than the 85-year combined track record of both companies and their shared goal of making affordable food available to Nigeria’s population, stakeholders will benefit from this combination in numerous ways.
Based on the scale of the transaction that will be carried out by the consolidated company, this will provide employees with more career development opportunities in a larger organisation, with the potential to create more jobs in the economy. Customers will also benefit from access to a wider product range and an even stronger stream of innovation that can only be delivered by a combined entity with stronger teams and financial muscle. In addition, Nigeria and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.
The proposed combination will bring together two trusted and entrenched brands, creating a single entity of becoming a national champion in the food manufacturing space that is better positioned to benefit the growing Nigerian population and leverage opportunities stemming from the African Continent Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
As this deal comes to a close, Honeywell Group, a leading investment company is setting its sights on the journey of refining and growing its investment portfolio. This will see it consolidate in sectors where it currently operates, such as real estate, energy, financial services, infrastructure. The company also intends to announce more strategic initiatives in the coming months.
Merger and Acquisition
Chad Nationalizes Exxon Mobil Assets Amidst Controversy
The Chadian government has announced that it has nationalized all assets and rights, including hydrocarbon permits and exploration and production authorizations, that belonged to Exxon Mobil’s subsidiary in the country.
The move comes after Exxon Mobil closed the sale of its operations in Chad and Cameroon to London-listed Savannah Energy in a $407 million deal in December.
However, the Chadian government contested the agreement, stating that the final terms were different from what Exxon Mobil had presented. It warned that it may ask courts to block Savannah’s purchase of Exxon’s assets in the country and take further steps to protect its interests.
The nationalized assets include a 40% stake in Chad’s Doba oil project, which comprises seven producing oilfields with a combined output of 28,000 barrels per day. It also includes Exxon’s interest in the more than 1,000 kilometer Chad/Cameroon pipeline from the landlocked nation to the Atlantic Gulf of Guinea coast through which its crude is exported.
Exxon Mobil and Savannah Energy were not immediately available for comment on the matter.
This move by the Chadian government is not entirely surprising given the controversy surrounding the sale of Exxon Mobil’s assets to Savannah Energy. It remains to be seen what actions the government will take to protect its interests and whether Savannah Energy will be able to proceed with its purchase of Exxon’s assets in Chad.
The nationalization of Exxon Mobil’s assets in Chad is part of a broader trend of governments taking greater control of their natural resources. Many countries in Africa and beyond have been pushing for greater control over their resources and a larger share of the profits generated by foreign companies operating in their territories.
As natural resources become increasingly important in the global economy, it is likely that we will continue to see governments taking a more assertive approach to the management of their resources. The challenge for companies like Exxon Mobil will be to navigate these complex and evolving political landscapes while also delivering value to their shareholders.
Unilever Nigeria to Reposition Products For Expansion
A renowned consumer goods manufacturer, Unilever Nigeria Plc has disclosed plans to reposition its products and expand its business for sustainability.
Unilever Nigeria Plc produces and markets consumables that include foods, household, beauty, cleansing amongst other goods, Investors King reports.
In a corporate notice signed by its Secretary, Abidemi Ademola sent to the Nigerian Exchange Limited, the company stated that its home care and skin cleansing markets will cease to exist while a rebranding takes place for increment in profit.
According to the company, the change in its business model became expedient to fast track the organisation’s growth and further satisfy the needs of their customers, employees, shareholders and other stakeholders.
Ademola explained that the new strategy would involve digital measures to simplify the business process while chances of devaluation will be avoided and reduced in the market upgrade.
The company had already visualised the extinction of the home care and skin cleansing categories in 2023 for the general growth of the firm and particularly to build a sustainable business.
The statement read in part, “this will involve repurposing the portfolio by exiting the home care and skin cleansing categories to concentrate on higher growth opportunities.
“Strengthening business operations with measures to digitise and simplify processes; and focusing more on business continuity measures that reduce exposure to devaluation and currency liquidity in our business model.”
NGX: 16 Companies Fined N779m Between 2020 and 2022
No fewer than 16 business firms have been penalised by the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) for market-related offences between 2020 and 2022.
Investors King gathered that the total sum of N779.5 million was imposed as fine on the erring companies that cut across manufacturing, food, insurance, consumer goods, technology, banking industries amongst others.
The penalty was as a result of non-compliance with some of the rules and requirements of the exchange for the timely filing of results and accounts by the company.
The NGX data shows that in 2022, fourteen companies were fined the sum of N170.6 million. They include: ETI, FBN Holdings Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Presco Plc, Ardova Plc, C&I Leasing Plc, Coronation Insurance Plc, Royal Exchange Plc, PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc, LASACO Assurance Plc, Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc and Omatek Ventures Plc.
While in 2021, seven companies were sanctioned N586 million and in 2020, the sum of N22.9 million was imposed as fine on three business firms.
Breakdown of the trade offenses and fines for the companies indicates that Coronation Insurance was fined N14.9 million, C & I Leasing was fined N11.6 million while a fine of 9.7 million was imposed on Ardova in 2022.
The NGX fined Presco N5.1 million, Honeywell Flour Mills N1.2 million for failure to submit third quarter 2021 result and account before the deadline.
For the erring financial companies, in 2022, ETI was sanctioned N3.2m; in 2021, FBN Holdings was fined N8.1m, Union Bank of Nigeria got N1.2m fine, Fidelity Bank Plc was fined N1.6m while Unity Bank Plc was sanctioned N4.2m.
An Information and Communications Technology firm, Omatek Ventures got a fine of N537.2m in 2022 for refusal to present audited results and accounts for 2015–2018 to the investing public.
LASACO Assurance was penalised N29.2m between 2020 and 2022 for not complying with some post-listing requirements. In 2022, N5.3m was levied for failure to submit its 2021 audited financial statement to the investing public, while in 2021, N15.1m was fined for not presenting the audited 2020 result and accounts.
The company was also sanctioned N8.8m in 2020 for failure to submit audited 2019, first quarter 2020 and second quarter 2020 financial results.
Investors King learnt that the sanctions on the listed companies have discouraged investors from trading in their stock due to the huge fines.
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