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Industry powerhouse: Nigeria’s top manufacturing leaders



Nigeria’s Manufacturing companies contributed approximately N32 trillion to the economy over a five-year period between 2018 and 2022 according to ThePressNG reporting citing NBS data.

Despite Nigeria’s challenging economic landscape, the manufacturing sector remains a significant force, bringing joy and providing goods for use by many households, from Cement, through Food and beverages, to Textiles, Apparel and Footwear, to Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals and many others, they have continued to sustain the needs and wants of Nigerians.

The leaders of these companies have adeptly navigated Nigeria’s economic turbulence, considering the country’s heavy reliance on imports. In Q4 2022, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics reported N559.25 billion in raw material imports, according to its Foreign Trade in Goods 2022 data.

The sector’s contribution to real GDP in Q2 2023 stood at 8.62%, marking a slight decline from 8.65% when compared to Q2 2022 and a more significant decrease from 10.13% in Q1 2023. Increasing energy costs, exchange rate fluctuations, elevated financing costs, rising inflation and rising costs of raw material imports have contributed to hindered production and eroded profit margins, as previously reported by ThePressNG.

Nevertheless, these manufacturing powerhouses persist, driving job creation and contributing to product diversity.

They are more than just business leaders; they are household brands deeply entrenched in Nigeria’s economy, influencing various industries ranging from food, beverages, oil, construction, and pharmaceuticals.

In this feature, ThePressNG profiles these top manufacturing industry powerhouses, highlighting their pivotal role in shaping consumer demand and maintaining economic stability.

Our list also includes leaders of foreign-owned companies who are in charge of the local manufacturing process in Nigeria. 

Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest individual, founded the Dangote Group in 1981. The conglomerate spans cement, food, and oil and gas industries, making it West Africa’s largest company. With over 30,000 employees and N3.3 trillion($ 4.3 billion) in revenue, Dangote’s empire began as a trading enterprise before venturing into manufacturing.

Abdulsamad Rabiu established BUA Group, a conglomerate involved in cement production, sugar refining, and real estate.

In 2020, Rabiu merged Obu Cement with Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, creating BUA Cement Plc. BUA cement has a market capitalization of N3.2 trillion on NGX. Abdul Samad Rabiu studied Economics at Capital University, Columbus, Ohio, USA and he holds the Nigerian National Honour of ‘Commander of the Federal Republic’ (CFR).

Tim Kleinebenne holds the position of Managing Director at Unilever Nigeria, a company established by William Hesketh Lever back in 1923. At the end of the 2022 financial year, Unilever Nigeria generated N88.6 billion, Net operating profit of N4.47 billion and had 786 employees.

Unilever Nigeria is a member of the Unilever Group, with a global presence in 190 countries, and a global of 148,000 employees.

Wassim Elhusseini is the MD of Nestle Nigeria Plc., a food and beverage speciality company with ties to Tolaram Group. Nestle Nigeria was founded in 1961 and by the end of the 2022 financial year, Nestle Nigeria generated a revenue of N446.8 billion, net operating profit of N86.9 billion and had 2,320 employees.

Together with the company’s 275,000 associates in 188 countries, Wassim strives to enhance the quality of life through the power of food with Nestlé’s 2,000+ brands.

Oyeyimika Adeboye, the CEO of Cadbury Nigeria, assumed her role in 2019. Under her leadership, the company, founded in 1965, has seen substantial growth. Cadbury Nigeria Plc currently employs about 781 people who have chosen to build their careers with the Company.

A chartered accountant, in November 2008, Oyeyimika was headhunted to join the board of Cadbury West Africa as Finance and Strategy Director, West Africa; and a director on the board of Cadbury Ghana Ltd.

Bernard Cheruiyot Langat is the Managing Director of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc, known for milk brands like Peak and Three Crowns.

The company started production in 1975 and at the end of the 2022 financial generated revenues of N324.72 billion, a net operating profit of N13.46 billion and had 764 employees.