A few days ago here at the office, some Nairametrics staff members were reminiscing about some of the popular Nigerian products they grew up loving as kids. Today, most of these products and the companies that manufactured them are no more. They’ve all closed shop, and the sad reasons for this will sadden you even more as you read through this article. This is because meaningful solutions have not been put in place to forestall more liquidations in the future.
The context: Happy Independence Day Nigeria?
Today marks Nigeria’s 59th year anniversary since becoming an independent country, following more than a century of colonial rule by Great Britain. While it is a tradition to always celebrate October 1st, the truth remains that there really isn’t much to rejoice about after all. From the business point of view, for instance, Nairametrics can confirm that many of the companies that that existed in Nigeria prior to 1960 have collapsed. This is nothing to be happy about.
Delisted and liquidated companies
Established in 1960, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has grown to become one of the top five biggest exchanges on the African continent. However, the bourse has witnessed a considerable number of delisting over the years. Information obtained from the NSE website has shown that about 109 Nigerian companies were delisted between 2002 and August 2019 alone.
Some examples of such companies are…
Note that even though some of these delisted companies are still in operation today as privately-owned entities, a significant number of them have ended up shutting down. Take the case of UTC Nigeria Plc for instance, for many years, the Swiss-owned company, which was established in 1932, thrived and diversified into different sectors. It was a perfect example of an excelling Nigerian company until several factors and policies affected its profitability and eventually chased away its core investors. In 2014, the company was overtaken by its creditors, then on May 2nd 2017, it was forced to delist from the NSE.
Albarka Airline Plc is another delisted Nigerian company that no longer exists today. The airline, which was incorporated in 1999, offered local flight services. Unfortunately, the company faced financial troubles and was unable to recapitalise in line with the Federal Government’s directive. Failure to recapitalise meant that it was grounded from flying in the Nigerian airspace. It was subsequently delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2011.
Nigeria Textile Mills Plc voluntarily delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2008. The company is one of the many textile companies in Nigeria that have experienced operational difficulties over the years due to unconducive business environment. Even a N100 billion fund set aside by the government to revive the textile industry could not help to ameliorate the situation.
Many banks collapsed between 1994 and 2006
To buttress how truly sad the situation is, the number of collapsed Nigerian banks between 1994 and 2006 stood at 45. According to the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), these banks’ licences were revoked by the Central Bank of Nigeria after a Federal High Court issued winding up orders for them. The NDIC was then appointed as the liquidator of the banks. Most notable among these 45 banks are:
- ABC Merchant Bank Ltd which was wound up on January 16, 1998
- Lobi Bank of Nig. Ltd also closed down on January 16, 1998
- Mercantile Bank of Nig. Plc, January 16, 1998
- Liberty Bank Plc, January 16, 2006
- Rims Merchant Bank Ltd, December 22, 2000, etc.
Why did these companies shut down?
A number of factors were responsible for these companies’ collapse, including unfavourable government policies and difficult operating environment. Other factors such as limited access to funding and lack of basic infrastructure like roads and electricity, also added to the problem by increasing these company’s operational costs, thereby hampering their growth potentials and profitability. It should also be noted that some of these companies collapsed due to poor management.
Urgent actions needed
There is no gainsaying the fact that it has become more necessary than ever before for the Nigerian Government to fix the country’s economic problems. To begin with, the country’s decayed infrastructure must be fixed. Most specifically, the electricity challenge must be resolved once and for all. Many companies in the country expend a lot of money generating their own electricity — a situation that should never be the case.
Lastly, Nigerian regulators should continually improve on their regulatory functions, in order to checkmate cases of corporate governance lapses before they get out of hand.
These are the only ways to ensure that fifty-nine years from now, we will not be referring to our presently-existing companies as “delisted and liquidated” Nigerian companies.