A conglomerate is a large corporation that has a controlling interest in several smaller companies. Businesses in a conglomerate are often unrelated and very different from one another in terms of the products or services they offer.

The corporation is the parent company and the business enterprises underneath are known as subsidiary companies. Subsidiaries run independent of one another, although each must still report to senior executives at the parent company

Advantages

  • Diversification helps in the reduction of investment risk:
  • By having a wide array of companies in different industries, poorly performing companies or industries can be offset by other sectors.
  • By participating in a number of unrelated businesses, the parent corporation is able to reduce costs by using fewer resources, and by diversifying business interests, the risks inherent in operating in a single market are reduced.
  • Companies owned by conglomerates have access to internal capital markets, enabling more ability to grow as a company. A conglomerate can allocate capital for one of their companies if external capital markets aren’t offering as kind terms the company wants.

Disadvantages

  • The extra layers of management increases costs.
  • The Accounting disclosure of a conglomerate is complicated, as a lot of figures are released as a group, rather than separately for each business. This therefore makes it difficult for managers, investors and regulators to analyze financial information.
  • Innovation can be stifled due to bureaucracy and inertia.

Examples of Nigerian Conglomerates

Dangote Group

Dangote Group is the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the continent. It generated revenue in excess of $3 billion in 2015. It is one of the leading diversified business conglomerates in Africa, employing more than 26,000 people.

Products: Cement, Sugar, Salt, Flour, Steel, Oil & Gas, and Packaging materials.

Services: Logistics and Real Estate.

Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc

Transcorp is a diversified conglomerate with investments and core interest in the hospitality, agribusiness and energy sectors.

Products/Services: Fruit Juice Concentrates, Hotels, Energy, Power.

United Africa Company (UAC)

UAC is a conglomerate with its areas of operation including manufacturing, services, logistics and warehousing, agriculture and real estate.

John Holt Plc

John Holt is a conglomerate specializing in the assembling and distribution of power generators, leasing, distribution of fire-fighting equipment, logistics, boat building and fabrication of industrial and agricultural equipment.

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