It is another Independence celebration for Nigeria, and this year, the most populous country in Africa is celebrating her 59th Independence Anniversary.
In the spirit of the celebration, Nairametrics is highlighting some of the companies that have been existing before the country’s independence, and are still existing.
Over the years, these companies, most of which have foreign and domestic investments, have experienced different challenges. Some of them have stood the test of time, while some are no longer in existence due to economic challenges, mismanagement, amongst others.
The United Africa Company of Nigeria (UACN) is a leading diversified Company, operating in the Food and Beverage, Real Estate, Paint and Logistics sectors of the economy.
UAC has been a participant in the Nigerian economy since 1879, about 8 decades before independence.
The Company’s brand portfolio includes leading brands such as Gala Sausage Roll, Mr Bigg’s, Funtime Coconut Chips, Supreme Ice Cream, Swan Natural Spring Water, Dulux Paint, Grand Soya Oil, Vital Feeds, Binggo Dog Food, Livestock Feeds, Grand Cornflakes and Sandtex Paints.
UAC is a Holding Company with a number of subsidiaries, sub-subsidiaries and Joint Venture Companies. It is also involved in some strong regional and international partnerships in a bid to enhance sustainable growth.
Unilever Nigeria Plc
Under the name Lever Brothers (West Africa) Ltd, Unilever’s operation in Nigeria dates to 1923.
The firm was primarily engaged in trading of soap and in 1924, the name was changed to West African Soap Company. Sensing opportunity in the country, the firm opened a soap factory in Apapa in 1925.
The company later expanded into the production of food products; it opened a new soap factory in Aba in 1958 and changed its name to Lever Brothers Nigeria Limited in 1955. In 1960, Lever Bros introduced Omo detergent into the market, the product gained traction among buyers, prompting the firm to commission a factory to manufacture Omo detergents in 1964.
In compliance with the indigenisation decree of 1972, Unilever became a publicly listed company in 1973, selling 60% of its shares to the Nigerian public. The company became majorly Nigerian-owned. In 1982, the firm began producing edible products such as Royco, blue band and treetop in Agbara, Ogun State.
In addition, the company went through a period of mergers and acquisition; firstly, acquiring Lipton Nigeria in 1985 and later merging with Vaseline manufacturer, Chesebrough Products Industries in 1988. During this period, the company embarked on a backward integration scheme in order to source its raw materials locally.
In 1995, the 40% owned by Unilever merged with Unilever Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of the Unilever United Kingdom. In 2001, the company changed its name to Unilever Nigeria Plc, which it still bears till date.
Established in 1937, A.G. Leventis Nigeria Plc is a large Nigeria-based conglomerate. The company provides its customers with a variety of products and services, in several various industries, such as power and gas products, consumer food pastry and bakery products, real estate properties, hotel accommodation services, commercial vehicle, sales and after-sales services, and Printer ink supplies.
The company operates through numerous subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Leventis Foods Ltd, Leventis Motors, Abuja (Capital Motors) Ltd, Mainland hotel, Leventis Real Estate, Druckfarben Nigeria Ltd, and Chrisstahl Nigeria Ltd.
Nigerian Breweries, which began doing business in Nigeria in 1946, has a growing export business which covers global sales and marketing of the brands. The products are available in over thirteen countries, across the United Kingdom, South Africa, Middle-East, West Africa and the United States of America.
The company produces alcoholic drinks such as Gulder, Heneiken, Legend Extra stout, Goldberg lager, Star lite lager and so on. They also have non-alcoholic drinks such as Maltina, Malta gold, Amstel Malta and fayrouz.
Nigerian Breweries is the pioneer and largest brewing company in Nigeria. It serves the Nigerian market and exports to other parts of West Africa.
Berger Paints Nigeria commenced operation in 1959. The manufacturing company has since grown to be a leader in the Coating and Allied Industry in Nigeria.
Berger Paints has a reputation for being the first in setting standards in the paint industry in Nigeria.
It operates in 5 business segments which include Decorative/Architectural finishes, Industrial coatings, Marine & Protective coatings, Automotive/Vehicle refinishes, Wood Finishing and Preservers.