Multinational companies are exiting Nigeria after a decade of poor economic policies. As inflation, weakening purchasing power, and an unstable exchange rate push out once-dominant multinationals and consumer brands, new companies and FMCG brands are filling the gap. Here are 10 of the multinational companies and brands forging ahead in Nigeria’s harsh business environment and providing Nigerian consumers with more budget-friendly options.
Henkel Nigeria is the company behind soap brands, Nittol and Waw; it has become established in Nigerian shops and households, winning the National Quality Excellence Award as the Best in Class Quality Cleaning Soaps Production Company of the Year in 2022. A German company, Henkel has been in business for over 140 years, producing in Laundry & Home Care, Beauty Care, and Adhesive Technologies categories. Henkel’s Nittol and WAW have gained market share from cleaning products from hitherto dominant multinationals like Unilever and Procter and Gamble.
PZ Wilmar Limited
PZ Wilmar, a subsidiary of PZ Cussons is the manufacturer of food brands like Devon King’s and Mamador, which includes the Mamador Pure Vegetable Oil, Mamador low-fat spread and Devon King’s Vegetable Oil. Founded in 2013, PZ Wilmar invested over $650 million in palm oil plantations and processing facilities in Nigeria, including a 26,500-hectare in Cross River State. The company’s brands have become dominant brands, winning awards for food fortification.
PZ Wilmar’s parent company, PZ Cussons was founded by George Paterson and George Zochonis when they began buying commodities in Sierra Leone in 1884. The company started operations in 1899; it became known as PZ Cussons in 1975 when it acquired Cussons Group.
According to a veteran marketing consultant PZ’s strength lies in its adaptation of its operations to the local context, signified by rigorous cost control and the blocking of leakages. The consultant said, “In our system, just like in government, leakages occur in the private sector from the boardroom to diesel supply management in remote branches. PZ has perfected a system for blocking leakages.”
Softcare Africa touts itself to be the “No.1 feminine brand in Africa”. The company has a range of products from Sanitary Pads, Baby Diapers, Baby Pants, Hygienic Tissue, Washing powders, Toothpaste, Beauty and medicated soaps.
Even before the announced exit of P&G, consumers started trying out Softcare products because of their pricing, and they are widely perceived to meet quality expectations.
Molped is a fairly old brand as it was launched by Hayat Kimya in 1999 as a girl-friendly brand. In 2007, Molped became the first brand to offer a variety of panty-liners in individual packaging for young girls and launched the first super-thin panty-liner two years later.
About a year ago, Molped launched Molped with Antibacterial Protection Sanitary Pad, and Bebem with Natural Essences Baby Diaper. The brand is obviously in for the long haul, and here to stay with Nigerians.
Unlike the hitherto dominant multinational brands, Molped is “under the radar” in terms of marketing; it is encountered in stores and rarely seen on television or billboards.
GB Foods Nigeria
GB Foods was founded in Spain in 1937 as Gallina Blanca. It has since become a global company with a presence in more than 50 countries and a turnover of 1.4 billion Euros. Its most popular brands across the countries it operates in include, Jumbo, Gallina Blanca, Erasco, Gino, Liebig, Star, D&L, Grand’Italia and Blå Band. GB Foods is present in 29 other African countries besides Nigeria. Its most popular brands in Nigeria are Bama Mayonnaise and its range of tomato paste products – Gino, Pomo, and Erasco- which have displaced the brands that dominated the market in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
Aspira Nigeria Limited with Viva and Oracare
Aspira Nigeria Limited is one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of personal health care and laundry products in Nigeria. The company has been in existence since 2009, and is located in Kano state. It has a range of detergents, bathing soaps and toothpaste that are capturing more market share in recent times as Nigerians seek more affordable products.
Aspira’s Oracare + Toothpaste, and the Viva range of detergents and household cleaners are becoming more popular by the day among Nigerians.
Eko Supreme Resources Nigeria Limited
EKO Supreme Resources Nigeria Limited has been a manufacturer of detergent and home care products for about two decades in the Nigerian market. Its flagship product Soklin, may no longer be as popular in the market, but Good Mama which was introduced in 2009, is now claiming more market share as consumers jump ship to more affordable products that offer as much value. The Good Mama Lemon variant is becoming a consumer favourite because of the same reasons.
Eko Supreme Resources Nigeria Limited launched in 1996 with its flagship brand, Sokiln which came in a then innovative white colour and sachet-size package. The company’s biggest brand now is Good Mama.
DryLove Nigeria Limited is a Nigerian company that has spread its tentacles over West Africa.
The company specialises in researching, developing, and producing baby diapers, feminine sanitary napkins/pads, panty liners, adult diapers, maternity pads, under pads, wet wipes, facial tissues, and toilet tissue etc. The range of products includes baby pampers, sanitary pads, baby oil, and other baby products like toothpaste, laundry soap, baby lotion, diaper rash cream, etc. As inflation pushes the price of all products upward, more consumers are switching to Drylove products.
Dufil Prima PLC
Dufil Prima Foods is also a relatively new Nigerian conglomerate; it started operations in 1996. Its iconic brand and money spinner is the noodles brand, Indomie (the company introduced the category to Nigeria). Its vegetable oil brand, Power Oil, is fast becoming another mega brand.
Laziz Mayonnaise, and La Mayo – are stealing market share from the long-time market leader – Bama mayonnaise. La Mayo and Laziz mayonnaise offer similar pack sizes for almost half the price of the Bama brand…”
Apple & Pears Limited
Apple & Pears Limited was incorporated in the year 2012 as an Agro-Allied & food industry to produce soya meal, concentrate and finished feed for poultry, and refined edible oil, mayonnaise, ketchup, salad cream, vinegar, chocolate drink and custard powder for the Nigerian market.
It has several brands like Laziz Oil, Winner Soya Oil, Active Oil, La Mayo Mayonnaise, Laziz Ketchup, Laziz Salad Cream, Laziz Thousand Island, Laziz Vinegar, Laziz Custard, Laziz Chocolate Drink, A1 Soya Bean Meal, A1 Soya Lecithin, HI Pro Concentrate and HI Pro Feed.
Its mayonnaise brands – Laziz Mayonnaise, and La Mayo – are stealing market share from the long-time market leader – Bama mayonnaise. La Mayo and Laziz mayonnaise offer similar pack sizes for almost half the price of the Bama brand, so it’s no surprise that a lot of consumers are trying out the new brands. Many of them think there is little difference in taste.
Also Read: Business File: BUA Foods lists Shares on NGX
On the vegetable oil front, Laziz Pure Vegetable Oil is also scooping a little more market share, even though it is not the cheapest vegetable oil on the market shelves.
Crown Flour Mill Limited, with the new Pasta on the block
Crown Flour Mill Limited commenced operation in 1981 with flour as its flagship product. Over the next two decades, it added Semolina to the mix. However, in 2010, Olam International (a Global Good and Agri-products focused multinational based in Singapore) acquired Crown Flour Mill and took the business in a new direction.
In 2016, the company ventured into the pasta business when it acquired BUA pasta and flour milling units. It also acquired Dangote Flour Mill in 2019, expanding its production and distribution capacity and making it a key player in the industry, and one of the top 10 millers in the world.
The Crown Premium Pasta has seen recent growth in its market share as consumers who have tried it, publicly attest to its excellent quality and taste, despite selling for almost half the price of other competing pasta.
Multinational companies (and other manufacturers) face a host of problems in Nigeria-inconsistent and uncertain policy, an unstable exchange rate and dollar scarcity, expensive energy, nightmarish logistics conditions including congested ports, etc.
Some Nigerians argue that the hitherto global multinationals are scaling down their Nigerian presence or quitting the country completely not because of these problems but because they are been bested by more nimble Asian and Middle Eastern competitors.
There may be some truth in this. But Nigerians should be worried that the richest and most innovative conglomerates in the world that often have the best talent development programmes, offer the highest salaries, comply the most with regulatory and corporate governance standards, and offer the best terms to local suppliers are leaving in droves.