Friday, 21 June 2024 04:52

Exits of multinationals gather pace as Indian steel maker prepares to leave Nigeria

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Indian steel maker, Aarti, is exiting the Nigerian manufacturing sector, joining a long list of companies leaving the country on account of economic woes.

The Ota, Ogun State-based steel maker, has already been put up for sale and big players have submitted unconfirmed bids ranging between $50 million and $100 million.

The steel maker’s exit is attributed to a combination of factors, notably high rate of indebtedness, challenging economy, fluffing currency, surging inflation and high energy cost, a source who spoke on condition of anonymity told BusinessDay.

“We are aware that Aarti Steel Nigeria has been put up for sale but we are yet to make our bid,” a reliable source from one of the bidding companies, who is not authorised to speak on the issue, said.

According to the source, African Industries and Bharti are bidding to buy the Indian-owned steel manufacturer for $50 million to $100 million. The process is expected to be completed in a few months.

The company is asking investors to submit their profiles, another source noted, saying that the management of the company wants to hand over Aarti to a credible investor.

This will make it the sixth company to exit Nigeria in the first half of 2024 after Microsoft Nigeria, Total Energies Nigeria, PZ Cussons Nigeria PLC, Kimberly-Clark Nigeria and Diageo PLC left the shores of Africa’s most populous nation.

The exit of Aarti will further dent the country’s perception as an investment destination and its $1 trillion gross domestic product (GDP) target, experts weigh in.

“The continuous exiting of multinationals from the economy is a serious cause for concern and this is because of the implication that it has,” said Muda Yusuf, chief executive officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise.

“It has a negative implication for employment and the country’s perception as an investment destination,” Yusuf added.

In 2017, Aaarti spent $20 million to $30 million to establish a 120,000-capacity cold-rolled mill in Ota, Ogun State, to serve Nigeria’s downstream players using the steel to produce home appliances, roofing sheets, metal furniture and filing cabinets, tables and chairs, among others.

But the investment does not seem to matter much now.

 

Businessday

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