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Nigeria’s Oldest Companies Defy Odds, Thrive Through Decades of Turmoil

With over 125 years of operation, First Bank has weathered numerous storms, including economic downturns, political unrest, policy changes, and financial crises.



First Bank

In the face of economic challenges, political uncertainties, and global crises, a select group of companies in Nigeria has defied the odds, standing tall for over six decades.

These resilient businesses have weathered military coups, civil war, economic booms and busts, and even the recent COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Ukraine conflict. Their ability to adapt, innovate, and diversify has been key to their enduring success.

Topping the list is First Bank of Nigeria Limited, a financial institution with a remarkable history dating back to 1894. With over 125 years of operation, First Bank has weathered numerous storms, including economic downturns, political unrest, policy changes, and financial crises.

Following closely is John Holt Plc, which established its presence in Nigeria in 1897. The company’s diverse business units, ranging from engineering to property development, have contributed to its longevity and adaptability.

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, tracing its roots to 1917 as Colonial Bank, claims the third spot on the list. The bank has undergone transformative changes, including ownership transfers to Nigerians, which have contributed to its resilience over the years.

Royal Exchange Plc, founded in 1921, and Unilever Nigeria Plc, known initially as Lever Brothers (West Africa) Limited in 1923, also feature prominently among Nigeria’s oldest surviving companies.

UAC of Nigeria Plc, incorporated in 1931, and Shell Petroleum Development Company, the pioneer oil company in Nigeria since 1937, continue to thrive despite the country’s ever-evolving economic landscape.

May & Baker Nigeria, established in 1944, and Wema Bank Plc, founded in 1945, have also demonstrated remarkable endurance in Nigeria’s business landscape. United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), established in 1949, and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, a construction giant founded in 1950, round out the list of resilient companies.

Aero Contractors, established in 1959, and Sterling Bank Plc, formerly known as NAL Bank, which began operations in 1960, have proven their mettle over the decades.

These companies have successfully weathered economic storms by adapting to changing market conditions and diversifying their operations. They have invested in innovation and placed a strong emphasis on providing quality products and services, all while navigating the challenges unique to doing business in Nigeria.

Experts attribute their success to factors such as strong management teams, a focus on innovation, and commitment to quality.

However, they acknowledge that Nigeria’s business environment poses formidable challenges, requiring companies to overcome various constraints to achieve longevity.

Some of these challenges include weak consumer purchasing power, supply chain disruptions, and the inability to innovate or adapt to change.

Also, factors such as poor power supply, bad roads, exorbitant levies, administrative bottlenecks, and inadequate regulations have hindered the growth and survival of many companies, leading to their eventual closure.

While some businesses, like the defunct Kingsway Stores and A.G Leventis, have succumbed to these challenges, Nigeria’s oldest companies continue to stand tall, a testament to their resilience, adaptability, and unwavering commitment to success.

In a country where the “pain of doing business” often overshadows the ease of doing business, these enduring companies serve as beacons of hope, inspiring future generations of entrepreneurs to persevere and thrive against all odds.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Company News

Manufacturers Cut Spending on Alternative Energy Sources as Electricity Supply Improves



Manufacturing Sector - Investors King

Nigerian manufacturers reduced their spending on alternative energy sources by 21.25% to N60.4 billion in the first half of 2023, according to the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN).

This decline is attributed to the increased availability of electricity from the national grid, which improved to 11.3 hours per day, up from 10.2 hours in the same period of 2022.

The report also indicated a slight increase in daily power outages to 4.7 times from 4.4 times in H1 2022.

These improvements in grid electricity availability have positively impacted the manufacturing sector’s energy expenditure, leading to a significant drop from N76.7 billion spent in the second half of 2022.

However, the initial high expenditure on alternative energy sources was driven by skyrocketing diesel prices.

The cost of diesel had surged due to foreign exchange challenges and the implementation of a 7.5% Value Added Tax on Automotive Gas Oil (diesel).

Diesel prices in many states had risen to between N900 and N950 per liter, which threatened the production capacity of numerous manufacturing entities.

The Nigerian Textile Manufacturers Association expressed concerns about the potential closure of textile factories and job losses due to rising energy costs. Textile manufacturers, in particular, found it challenging to afford diesel at such prices.

The Chief Executive Officer of Coleman Technical Industries Limited also highlighted the increased production costs associated with higher diesel prices.

While the improvement in electricity supply is a positive development for manufacturers, the industry remains vigilant about energy costs and their impact on production.

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Company News

Dangote Group Subsidiaries Contribute N474 Billion in Taxes to Federal Government Over Three Years



Dangote Sugar - Investors King

In a significant testament to its commitment to corporate citizenship and financial responsibility, three subsidiaries of the Dangote Group have revealed that they paid a substantial total of N474 billion in taxes to the Federal Government over the past three years.

The disclosure was made by Hashem Ahmed, an official representing the multibillion-dollar conglomerate, during the opening ceremony of the 18th Abuja International Trade Fair, which focused on the theme ‘Sustainable financing and taxation as drivers of the new economy.’

The Dangote Group, led by its President Aliko Dangote, stands as not only the largest private-sector employer but also the country’s leading taxpayer. The remarkable N474 billion contribution was primarily made by Dangote Sugar, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Salt.

Also, the group has a longstanding history of extensive financial support, empowerment initiatives, corporate social responsibility programs, sponsorships, and philanthropic endeavors, amounting to several billions of naira.

Hashem Ahmed also expressed the group’s satisfaction with the Federal Government’s commitment to tax reform policies aimed at broadening the tax base and providing essential funding for infrastructure development in the country.

The Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Doris Uzoka-Anite, who spoke at the event, announced the government’s comprehensive plan to support small businesses and startups amid Nigeria’s economic challenges.

The plan includes a N75 billion investment by March 2024 to bolster the manufacturing sector, grants for microbusinesses in every local government, and a N75 billion fund to support up to 100,000 startups and MSMEs at favorable interest rates repayable over 36 months.

The government has also initiated partnerships with tech giants like Microsoft and the African Development Bank, signaling a bright future for Nigeria’s economic growth and innovation.

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Merger and Acquisition

Dangote Industries Set to Revolutionize Agriculture Industry with Mega Merger, Creating Dangote Foods Plc



Dangote Industries Limited has unveiled plans for a merger that will give rise to a formidable entity known as Dangote Foods Plc.

This colossal conglomerate is poised to transform the agriculture industry and enhance food security across the nation.

The merger will combine three subsidiaries of Dangote Industries Limited, including Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Salt, and Dangote Rice, resulting in a diversely profitable mega-company.

The fusion, scheduled for completion by the end of 2023 pending regulatory approvals, promises to yield significant benefits for all stakeholders, notably shareholders.

Dangote Sugar Refinery’s Group Managing Director and CEO, Mr. Ravindra Singhvi, highlighted the merger’s strategic importance, stating its potential to create substantial shareholder value.

The amalgamation will not only generate cost-saving synergies but also expand product offerings and revenue streams.

Dangote Foods Plc is set to become a powerhouse in the market, boasting a wide array of products, including sugar, salt, tomato, and rice, among others. This merger will facilitate broader distribution capabilities and increased operational efficiency through synergy.

The journey towards this monumental merger began when Dangote Sugar Refinery notified the Nigerian Exchange Limited of its intention to merge with NASCON Allied Industries Plc and Dangote Rice Limited, both subsidiaries of Dangote Industries Limited.

This move marks a pivotal moment in the corporate history of Nigeria, with Dangote Industries Limited reaffirming its commitment to driving growth, innovation, and food security for the nation.

As regulatory approvals progress, Dangote Foods Plc is poised to emerge as a prominent player in Nigeria’s agricultural landscape, ultimately paving the way for a brighter and more sustainable future for the country.

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