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Cement Wars: The battle for Cement dominance between Ibeto vs Dangote

A story of the battle for Cement dominance in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria.

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dangote ibeto

A story of the battle for Cement dominance in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria. How one man surmounted rivals, both big and small, to become the undisputed King of African Cement and another battled with the guardians of the corridors of power.


On a cold afternoon in November 2005, Federal Government operatives, acting on orders from above, swooped down on a busy factory in the oil rich city of Port Harcourt. They were under instructions to seal off a warehouse whose operations had contravened a government policy – a policy that would later prove decisive in a brutal race for market share in an industry worth over N1 trillion.

At first, the closure appeared to be due to a mix-up between an agency of the Government and the owners of the warehouse. It was expected to be resolved in a matter of days by the billionaire Chairman of the company. Emissaries were dispatched to help resolve whatever misunderstanding may have led to the seemingly excessive act by the government.

As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, it dawned on the owners of the multi-billion-naira conglomerate, which was based in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria, that they were dealing with powers that stretched far beyond the red sands of the South East. Something had to be done to resolve this issue. At stake was not only the reputation of the company, but billions of naira in inventory that could erode all the wealth that had been built over the years.


Flashback – School boy

It was January 22, 1966 in the bustling suburb of Nnewi in Anambra state, South-Eastern Nigeria. Nigeria had just witnessed a deadly coup one week earlier, and the mood in the country was still tense. But for a certain household, a major decision had to be made. Cyril, the eldest son of the home, was having a chat with his father that would decide the fate of one of his siblings.

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Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

47 Comments

47 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    August 24, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Well written expose. Thanks nairametrics.

  2. Alfred Anfela

    August 24, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Absolutely incredible. One of the most interesting articles I have ever read in the Nigerian media. A very big thank you to the writer for this valuable write-up. God bless you.

  3. Segun olarewaju Johnson

    August 24, 2018 at 3:39 pm

    A three star documentary, well written, with date,time and location.
    Well done

  4. Bobby Ikenna

    August 25, 2018 at 6:50 am

    Whoever crafted this report is a genius. I am pleased to have the privilege to read this well researched and composed article.

  5. Anonymous

    August 25, 2018 at 12:12 pm

    Nice. Excellent. Well written. Welldone. Keep it up!

  6. Eniola

    August 25, 2018 at 3:02 pm

    Wow.This was an awesome read. Well detailed and very informative. Keep up the great work. My own little token will be to spread this link as much as I can and blow the trumpet of this site. Kudos

  7. Sam

    August 25, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Brilliantly written.

  8. Kay Abayomi

    August 25, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Beautifully written!

  9. Meche Ozonaya

    August 25, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Who said journalism is dead in Nigeria? This is well researched and written article. We need this type of expose to keep people informed.

  10. Obasanjo Sanusi

    August 25, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    I have never read anything like this in the Nigerian Media, whoever put this piece together did a great job, the fact that we were taken back in history and the merging of stories, kept me reading to the end….big thumbs up

  11. Anonymous

    August 25, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    wow

  12. Chigo

    August 25, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    An Informative, Well articulated and properly structured article. More greeze to your nairametrics for this fantastic article. Please keep up the good work.

  13. Anonymous

    August 25, 2018 at 10:33 pm

    An interesting article. Well researched. Thumbs up Nairametrics.

    • Anonymous

      June 16, 2020 at 11:32 pm

      Well articulated and scripted. Good research work,balance in contents.

  14. Oloye TOLU Osaretin (@tholu_osa2)

    August 25, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Awesome read. Some great work by nairametrics team.

  15. John Analoh

    August 26, 2018 at 8:10 am

    This is a very well written exposé, we need more of this kind of report. Wonderful job guys

  16. Anonymous

    August 26, 2018 at 7:09 pm

    This is one nice piece. It should be considered for a video documentary like “The Men that Built America”

    • adejoke

      August 28, 2018 at 7:40 pm

      Absolutely agree.

  17. Anonymous

    August 26, 2018 at 7:58 pm

    Wow, this article is amazing.. 😍 it.. Keep it up

  18. Chris

    August 27, 2018 at 1:52 am

    just finished reading… i need to save this up, great read.

  19. Anonymous

    August 27, 2018 at 4:41 am

    great read!

  20. kenny

    August 27, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    awesome read, thanks and keep it coming

  21. Anonymous

    August 27, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    This is the best piece I have ever written about Nigerian business terrain.

  22. Timi Oyatomi

    August 28, 2018 at 1:35 am

    Awesome !! I look forward to great articles like this.

  23. Nnee

    August 28, 2018 at 6:05 am

    This is an amazing write up… a documentary should be made on this really… well done Nairametrics

  24. Anonymous

    August 28, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Awesome. Thank you Nairametrics.

    Please don’t stop here, we also need to have a “Enters BUA” part of the story. The competition between BUA and Dangote will also give us another perspective of the industry.

  25. MrA1

    August 29, 2018 at 10:26 am

    This write up is so very well written and researched.
    Ugo and the Nairametrics crew, una welldone!

    Young as I am, this reminds me of a research project I did on Dangcem for my masters

  26. Dehinbo

    August 29, 2018 at 7:32 pm

    Is there an award akin to the Pulitzer for journalistic excellence or investigative writing in the Nigerian media? This article deserves it.
    Illuminatingly brilliant!

  27. Chinemerem Onunkwo

    August 30, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    A wonderful piece. I haven’t read something this detailed in a really long while. You really did your research. Kudos!!!!!

  28. Seyi

    August 31, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    This is the best article I have read in a Nigerian business website. Well done guys

  29. Mayor

    September 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    This is quite objective and very informative.

    This clearly shows the significant role government plays in making the top merchants who they are.

    No solo runs…

  30. erasmus ekwulugwo

    September 8, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    dangote being greedy and having the protection of the federal govt., should have been condemed by the response but here the indept journalism was praised.

  31. Bolaji Tojola

    October 5, 2018 at 9:24 pm

    Whoever wrote this story deserves a promotion.Very impressive

  32. Ajayi Oluwaseun

    November 2, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    Nicely delivered and well researched. The itch as someone mentioned is the fact that BUA cement owned by Abdul Samad Rabiu is left out of the picture. In fact speaking of “the battle for dominance” among indigenous players in the cement industry, Rabiu should be more of a contender with Dangote than Ibeto.

  33. larry ufuoma

    March 28, 2019 at 11:15 am

    This is a really amazing write up. You gave a new insight to the world of business in Nigeria. Thanks @nairametrics

  34. Folabi Awojobi

    April 5, 2019 at 5:55 am

    Excellent write up. It is clear that the business world in Nigeria is not for the faint hearted and you must ensure you don’t make enemies in government corridors. It can almost always certainly spell doom.

  35. CHI O.

    June 26, 2019 at 11:50 am

    Great write up, well researched!!!

  36. NobleNat

    June 26, 2019 at 8:29 pm

    This is the reason I can’t do without coming to Nirametrics in a day!
    Absolutely a great piece 👌
    Kudos to the Team that put this up

  37. Oye

    July 24, 2019 at 2:07 pm

    I have been procastinating on reading this topic for long, I am happy I read it today. Well researched and excellently delivered. Kudos to Ugo and his team.

  38. Emmanuel

    September 4, 2019 at 12:27 pm

    Great piece. Well written

  39. Erika Johnson

    October 22, 2019 at 3:51 pm

    Wonder article we have here

  40. Raphblog

    December 31, 2019 at 4:06 pm

    still dont know why ibeto was shut down

  41. Oluwatuyi Olawale

    January 6, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Why will ibeto wage wars against dangote….can you imagine….anyway nice article…keep it up dude

  42. Ikem

    January 12, 2020 at 11:48 pm

    Masterpiece

  43. Kolade

    March 5, 2020 at 4:47 pm

    I am greatly impressed by this effort.This is one of the things that Nigeria lacked over the ages, rich and verifiable history of Nigerian owned businesses, so that upcoming Titans can learn.

  44. Ayoola

    March 8, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Brilliant article. Love this

  45. Ubaja

    April 28, 2020 at 11:22 pm

    Its hard to get something this informative and yet remains fact… Thanks a lot, ore of the same please

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Corporate Stories

Standard Alliance Insurance plc: What happened to the most capitalized insurance company of 2010?

After a 39-year journey of high and lows, shareholders await Awodiya to deliver on the promise of profitability.

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Standard Alliance Insurance Plc recently held its Annual General Meeting, the first in the last four years. The financial reports received at the AGM were that of FY 2017 and 2018, bringing up the million-dollar question; what is going on with this underwriter?

Nairametrics Company of the Week focuses on the 39-year-old highly ranked insurance company, its past achievements, and current realities.

Almost 40 years ago, the company was incorporated in July 1981 as a Private Limited Liability Company. At this time, it was known as Jubilee Insurance Company Limited until August 1996 when it became Standard Alliance Insurance Company Limited.

It became a public liability company on 30 May 2002 and listed its stocks on the main board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange in December 2003.

The Company has an authorized capital of N7 billion with 14billion ordinary shares at 50kobo each. Major investors include Gemrock Management Company Limited which holds 20.09%, Standard Alliance Investments Limited holding 19.81%, and FCMB Plc holding 5.42%.

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The ‘men’ who run the show

On the board of directors, the company has a team that manages its affairs from the top level to its subsidiaries.

Mr. Johnson Egu Chukwu heads the board as Chairman and was recently reappointed into the position; while Mr. Omotayo Awodiya, a seasoned Insurance Practitioner, recently became the Managing Director, succeeding Mr. Richard Ododo who had barely spent a year on the job.

Others on the board include Mr. Oduniyi Odusi (Executive Director), Mallam Haruna Mohammed Uwais F.IoD, Chief Uzoma Igbonwa, and Agnes Okiemute Umukoro as Directors.

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Business operations

Like any other insurance provider, Standard Alliance Insurance plc provides a wide array of insurance products for its customers. There is aviation insurance, bonds insurance, erection Insurance, contractors/all risk, Fidelity Guarantee, Goods-in-Transit, and machinery breakdown insurance, amongst others.

To provide a comprehensive cover for relevant insurance products, the company also has arrangements with re-insurance companies both locally and internationally for full customer protection.

In the business of insurance, there will always be the issue of customers who think the insurance packages are too expensive, and it is to protect against such scenarios that the Research and Risk Management departments carry out research on insurable risks and insurance costs, and makes practical cost-saving recommendations to the benefit of its customers.

There are also consultancy services to cover existing but unidentified insurable risks so that customers are advised on how to handle issues that disrupt their business operations, but are generally considered uninsurable.

The company also prides itself on its swift processing of claims; although, there are not many testimonials to buttress this.

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Standard Alliance also appears to have positioned itself in line with advancing technologies, so that bulk of its processes and operations are now fully automated. With a simple call or email, a customer can start processing claims or make inquiries about products and services. The hundreds of employees and over a thousand agents across the country also provide an advantage for the company, giving it more leads and subsequently customers.

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Its seamless operations are a result of an efficient blend of the human resources and world-class applications used to drive quality services.

Any returns for investors?

Licensed by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) to transact general and special risk insurance businesses, SA Insurance, has grown to become one of the most respected insurance companies both in products and service delivery. So, how has this translated into its profit and losses in the almost 40 years of operation?

Just last month, the company held its 22nd Annual General Meeting (AGM), the first in the last four years. At this AGM, the financial statements for FY 2017 and 2018 were received.

The reports showed a major 88.41% decline in pre-tax profit for 2018 from N277.766 million recorded in FY 2017. The company also recorded a 26% decline in gross premium written at N3.757 billion in 2018, down from the N5.057 billion in 2017.

The company made a Profit after Tax of N58.5 million in 2017 as against N1.3 billion loss recorded in the comparative period of 2016, and Gross Premium written increased from N4.3 billion in 2016 to N4.8 billion in 2017.

Although 2017 financials showed an improvement from the previous financial year, in terms of Gross Premium written, Profit before Tax, and Profit after Tax, the underwriter had run losses amounting to billions of naira in the preceding years.

In the absence of financial reports and AGMs, shareholders have obviously been starved of updates and returns on their investments in the last few years. To worsen matters, the company has been severely sanctioned by the NSE in the last couple of years for failing to file its financial reports.

The real situation of things

Although the company has several awards on its shelf, most of them are almost a decade old. SA Insurance Plc won the 29th edition of the Presidential Merit Award of the Nigerian Stock Exchange Market, having clinched the top spot among all quoted insurance companies.

It was the Most Capitalized Insurance Company of the Year 2010, the Insurance Company of the Year, World Class Customer Service Insurance Company of the Decade, IT Compliant Insurance Company of the Year, and Safety Performance Achievement Award in the Insurance Sector, all in the year 2010.

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In 2011, the company bagged The Diamond Eye Award for Quality and Excellence in Switzerland.

However, shareholders are no longer finding solace in the past awards but instead seek returns. For obvious reasons, the SA Insurance stocks are also not liquid, so investors will not even find it easy to sell off their shares.

Shareholders will now wait on Awodiya to deliver on the mouth-watering promises of profitability he gave on the assumption of office as the company’s MD. All eyes will be on the lookout for the 2020 Q4 financials, but in the meantime, it does not look like there would be any buying or selling of the company’s stocks as NSE had suspended the company from trading shares in 2018 and again in 2019 due to its failure to turn in the required financials.

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Corporate Stories

Corporate Story: Intriguing tale of Seven-Up’s ugly fight for market share in Nigeria

For many years, competition in the Nigerian soft drink market was mainly between Coca-Cola and Seven-Up but in 2014, Rite Food came and disrupted the space.

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Corporate Story: Intriguing tale of Seven-Up’s ugly fight for market share in Nigeria

It was early morning on Wednesday, November 13th 2019, and Ziad Maalouf was not asleep. He could not sleep, not with his mind burdened by what had become a serious problem facing Seven-Up Bottling Company, which he oversees. It was part of his job as the Managing Director to figure out a solution to this challenge. And that was exactly what he was doing as he sat in his study that early morning, typing furiously on his computer.

By 4:37 am that morning, Maalouf had sent out an internal memo and copied 25 top executives of the soft drink manufacturing company. In the memo, he made it clear that he was ready to declare war against the company’s competitors. He would not rest until the war was over and Seven-Up had emerged victorious, he declared.

Corporate Story: Intriguing tale of Seven-Up’s ugly fight for market share in Nigeria

Seven-Up Factory

But the internal memo leaked

 

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Corporate Stories

A bitter family feud has continued to hamper this company’s growth

Sometime in early 2012, a wealthy, sophisticated, and beautiful middle-aged Nigerian businesswoman walked into a Lagos courtroom to testify before a judge.

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A bitter family feud has continued to hamper this company’s growth

Sometime in early 2012, a wealthy, sophisticated, and beautiful middle-aged Nigerian businesswoman walked into a Lagos courtroom to testify before a judge. She had just filed a lawsuit before the court in a desperate bid to salvage her late husband’s investments in the Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc (TCN). She was also understandably trying to secure her financial future and that of her children. Her husband had just died, and she suddenly found herself thrust in the position of the sole breadwinner of the family.

The woman is Mrs Maiden Ibru, the widow of renowned businessman and politician, Alex Ibru. During her testimony on that fateful day, she made some pretty shocking revelations, albeit with some dramatics.  She told everyone gathered in the courtroom that just as she was walking in, she supposedly saw the apparition of her late husband telling her to fight. So, fight she did, by spilling all the secrets about the company.

Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc

Mrs Maiden Ibru appearing in court to testify.

Apparently, all was not well with the Tourist Company of Nigeria Plc, a hospitality company that owns one of Nigeria’s oldest luxury hotels – the Federal Palace Hotel. Perhaps no one would have known about TCN’s woes if Mrs Ibru hadn’t instituted her lawsuit and subsequently given her bombshell testimony. However, the sad thing is the fact that though it’s been seven years since Maiden Ibru’s court appearance, all is not still well with the company.

 

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