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Business News of Saturday, 7 January 2023


4 Greek-owned companies in Nigeria

President Muhammadu Buhari with the Greek Ambassador and Nigeria's Foreign Minister President Muhammadu Buhari with the Greek Ambassador and Nigeria's Foreign Minister

The number of Nigerian companies with Greek origins may not be much, but they are certainly quite impactful.

The bilateral trade relations between Nigeria and Greece date back to 1970 when both countries established diplomatic relations. Before then, Greek companies had been operating in Nigeria, with some dating as far back as many decades ago playing significant roles in the Nigerian economy, essentially in manufacturing.

Over the years, trade between the two countries concentrated in Maritime trade with Greek-owned ships carrying Nigerian crude oil.

The Greek investment companies have been making in the Nigerian economy keep on growing. For example, in 2005, Greek-owned Flour Mills of Nigeria announced an investment of US$ 350 million to create a cement factory in Calabar with project costs rising to US$500 million.

Other companies of Greek origin in Nigeria are household names that have contributed to the economy, employed many Nigerians and given back to society.

AG Leventis

AG Leventis Plc was founded by Anastasios George Leventis who was a Greek Cypriot businessman in 1937. The main activities of the company were importing and wholesaling of textile goods.

However, it has grown to be involved in key sectors, such as:

Manufacturing – Nigeria Bottling Company

Foods – Leventis Foods

Hospitality – Victoria Beach Hotel (now Federal Palace Hotel) to Lagos Mainland Hotel

Power and Industrial Packaging

Automotive: Leventis Motors

Logistics and Transportation: Through the sales of heavy and light duty trucks sales and after-sales, Vehicle Assembly through events TGL
Retail – Leventis Stores and the new Joint Venture with Pick ‘n’ Pay.
The AGL Leventis foundation, Leventis foundation and AGL Cares are foundations set up by the company as part of its corporate social research drive.

The company has shown support to Red Cross, orphanages and community outreaches and supported leadership training through LEAP Africa.

The current chairman is Mr Ahmed Kazalma Mantey, while the Group MD/ CEO is Mr Oluwaseun Abimisola Oni.

The Mandillas Group

The Mandillas Group was founded by John Basil Mandillas 70 years ago to do business in the Nigerian automobile industry. The company introduced the Volkswagen brand in the ’50s before the establishment of the Volkswagen Assembly plant in Nigeria, in which Mandilas became a partner.

Subsequently, Mandilas became a distributor of various auto brands such as Audi, Peugeot, Nissan, Daihatsu, Honda, Kia, and Skoda in the late ’90s.

The company is currently one of the distributors of Toyota in Nigeria and is also involved in auto sales of new and used cars, logistics, care rentals, fleet management and leasing and after-sales services.

In honour of Artisanal day 2022, Mandilas Group limited donated technical toolboxes and equipment to artisans in the Lagos Island East Local Council Development Area (LCDA). The company also donated industrial cooling spare parts as educational resource material to the Students and Teachers of the Lagos State Technical and Vocational Education Board (LASTVEB).

In addition, the company has been involved in medical outreaches and has donated resource materials to Bonny Island, and furniture to schools in Lagos.

The Group CEO is Ola-Ayo Adeloye.

Paterson-Zochonis (PZ Cussons)

PZ Cussons is an international consumer goods company founded in 1884 by George Paterson and George Zochonis as a commercial business between West Africa and the United Kingdom with Sierra Leone as a trading post in 1884.

Later in 1975, the firm acquired the Cussons Group, creating the PZ Cussons we know today.

The company is now focused in three core categories: Hygiene, Baby and Beauty which has produced household brands such as Cussons Baby, Carex hand wash, Joy soap, Premier soap, Robb, Morning Fresh, Kings vegetable oil, Mamador oil, and many others.

The company is involved in various sustainability initiatives which include its Palm Oil Action Plan and the expansion of its reduction targets for energy, plastics, water and waste.

Panagiotis Katsis is the current Chief Executive Officer/ MD.

Flour Mills Nigeria

Flour Mills of Nigeria was founded by a Greek businessman, George Coumantaros, in 1960 as a diversified agribusiness company. Today, it is a holding company with a vertically integrated business model. Its parent company is Excelsior shipping company.

The company has various subsidiaries and is contributing to the growth of the agro-allied industry, food and consumer goods, shipping and logistics amongst others in Nigeria.

The company is into flour milling, production and distribution of a diverse range of food products. Its portfolio of products includes flour, pasta, noodles, breakfast cereals, margarine, and spread, vegetable oils, and refined sugar. The flagship brand of the company is Golden Penny Flour. Others are Golden Penny noodles, Spaghetti, granulated sugar etc. FMN employs over 12,000.

The former CEO and chairman of FMN is John Coumataros, son of the late founder. The current MD/CEO is Omoboye Olusanya.

FMN PLC has invested more than N150 billion over the past ten years to execute its core business strategy to aid the agricultural sector and infrastructure.

Asides from its sustainability strategy, the company has an active CSR initiative which stems from five key areas which are:

Education, research and skills development, Environmental Sustainability, Health, safety, and welfare, Infrastructural Development and Security.