A lot of people may find it difficult to believe that there are companies in Nigeria today that do not have official websites. As absurd as this may seem, it is indeed true. Mind you, we are not talking about mere start-ups here. Rather, we are talking about fully-fledged corporations, some of which have existed for decades and are even listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. For this week’s company profile, we are focusing on seven of these companies, as we try to understand their lack of websites.
Why would a fully-fledged company not have a website in 2019? This is a question that has puzzled analysts at Nairametrics for a while now. Could it be that these companies have no knowledge of the importance of websites, or that they simply cannot afford one? How do their shareholders feel about this? And how do they interact with their customers? There is so much curiosity about this. But first, let’s get to know the companies.
Here are the companies
In the course of researching into these companies, we found some unique characteristics and common trends among them. For one, they are all little-known companies on the NSE, with very small market capitalisation and low-priced stocks. Most of them have also been struggling financially, which might explain why they cannot afford to expend money on something as important as a website.
At this juncture, you probably cannot wait any longer to know these companies. We also cannot wait to list them out to you. However, before we do, it is important to point out that this article is not intended to serve as a name-and-shame. Far from it. Moreover, having an official website is not a pre-requisite for doing business in Nigeria. We are only trying to understand how possible it is for quoted companies to successfully do business in 2019 without having the necessary online presence which a website can afford. That said, below are the companies:
- Unic Diversified Holdings Plc
- Golden Guinea Breweries Plc
- Greif Nigeria Plc
- Nigerian Enamelware Plc
- Roads Nigeria Plc
- Smart Products Nigeria Plc
- Studio Press Nigeria Plc
About Unic Diversified Holdings Plc
Incorporated on September 11th 2015, Unic Diversified Holdings Plc is a financial services provider which was set up following the delisting of Unic Insurance Plc from the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The company’s principal activities range from serving as a holding company while investing the held shares in blue chip companies.
If you recall, Unic Insurance Plc was delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange in April 2017 after years of repeated failure to release financial results. Earlier in February of that year, some 70% equity stake in the company was acquired by Liberty Mutual.
It appears the company is still restructuring since 2017. It has a market capitalisation of about N516.4 million, no thanks to a share price that is as low as N0.20. Note that Unic Diversified Holdings Plc has not released its latest financial results. As a matter of fact, the NSE X-Compliance report said the company has not rendered quarterly financial statements between 2015 and 2019. Little wonder it doesn’t even have a website— apparently there are issues of greater importance.
Golden Guinea Breweries Plc
This company’s many problems can be traced back to the Nigerian civil war which ravaged most parts of Eastern Nigeria, particularly Umuahia, where the brewer is located. Established in 1962 by the government of the then Eastern Nigerian region, Golden Guinea Breweries Plc was a dominant brewer in South Eastern Nigeria, producing many loved brands. Unfortunately, following the havoc wrecked by the afore-mentioned civil war, things have never been the same for the company.
There have been several attempts to revamp the company, thanks to the likes of Coutinho Caro, a German firm. Unfortunately, in 2003 a fire outbreak wrecked further havoc on the company’s factory. But further attempts have since been made to resuscitate it. In April 2019, Golden Guinea dispelled rumour that it is back in operation, suggesting that it has been out of operation for a while. This probably explains why it has no website. The company has a share price of N0.89 and a market cap of N242.2 million.
Greif Nigeria Plc
Greif Nigeria Plc, a Lagos-based company, was incorporated in 1940. It has existed for over 78 years, manufacturing steel and plastic drums for industrial packaging. But a lot has changed about the company since its inception. First, its initial name (Metal Containers of West Africa Limited) was changed to Van Leer Containers Nigeria Limited in 1969 prior to it becoming Grief Nigeria Plc in 2004.
Meanwhile, the company struggled financially, so much so that in February 2019, it decided that it was going to shut down operations in the country. In his address accompanying the company’s 2018 full-year financial results, Adebayo Olowoniyi (the Chairman), said the following:
“Greif Nigeria has been operating well below operating costs, even below direct material costs, and sees no signs of improved market conditions. Therefore, we have decided to stop operations with immediate effect. The coming months we will investigate on if and/or how we can continue with Greif Nigeria.”
In the meantime, the company has not delisted from the Nigerian Stock Exchange. As a matter of fact, it has continued to release its financial statements, including that of the period ended July 31st 2019 which shows a 78% decline in revenue to N89.5 million compared to N405.4 million during the comparable period in 2018. It also recorded a loss after tax of N106.5 for the period. The company has a share price of N9.1 and a market cap of N388 million.
Please note that Grief Nigeria Plc is a subsidiary of Greif International Holding B.V, a company which has been operating in the global product packaging industry for over 140 years. The company’s website also carries information about the Nigerian subsidiary because Grief Nigeria Plc does not have any website of its own.
Nigerian Enamelware Plc
Going by information obtained from the company’s financial report, it was incorporated in May 1960 as a limited liability company, then it went public in December 1979. It was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange around the same time. Hong Kong-based I. Feng Limited holds 60% equity stake in the company which engages in the manufacturing and marketing of enamelware, plastic products and galvanised buckets.
The company has a share price of N22.1 and a market capitalisation of N1.6 billion. For the three month period ended July 31st 2019, the company made a revenue of N170.7 million and a loss after tax of N2.8 million.
Roads Nigeria Plc
The aptly-named Roads Nigeria Plc is a Nigerian civil engineering firm whose business model encompasses the construction of roads, bridges, dams, airfields, and even real estate. The company is headquartered in the Northern Nigerian city of Sokoto and has been operating since 1974 when it was incorporated.
The company has a market capitalisation of N165 million with total outstanding shares of 25 million. Note that share price has remained mostly unchanged at N6.60 for many months.
Roads Nigeria Plc’s corporate compliance record is rather unimpressive, at least judging by its consistent non-compliance to the listing rules of the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Nairametrics reported recently that its stock was suspended from trading on the NSE over account filing deficiency. The company is currently in the process of delisting.
Studio Press Nigeria Plc
The company was incorporated in 1965 as a limited liability company and transformed into a public limited company in 1979. It has a share price of N1.9 and a market cap of N1.1 billion. Information obtained from its full-year 2018 results says that it engages in the printing and manufacturing of light packaging materials and labels, including Commercial Lithographic Printing.
Smart Products Nigeria Plc
The company was initially incorporated in 1966 as Associated Press Limited and later changed its name to Smurfit Print Nigeria Limited in 1987. In 1991, it transformed into a public limited company and by September 2005, it changed its name to its current one. Information available in its full-year 2018 financial results said, “the company continued to let out the warehouse and rely on its rental income during the year under review.” It has a share price of N0.29 and a market cap of N13 million.
It can be seen from the foregoing that there are various reasons why these companies do not have websites. Some of them are undergoing restructuring, others are struggling financially, while some are even considering closing down. While these are unfortunate circumstances, it should be noted that in 2019, it has become imperative that any company that wishes to succeed must build a befitting website. Therefore, these companies need to quickly figure out solutions to their problems, including their lack of websites.