Thursday, June 13, 2024

Guinness announces plan to leave Nigeria after 75 years as Tinubu’s inflation wreaks economic havoc

Guinness will join a long list of multinationals, like GlaxoSmithKline and Microsoft, that have left Nigeria, citing the harsh economic climate as making business unprofitable.

• June 11, 2024

After operating in Nigeria since 1950 and enduring a torrid economic climate on the back of President Bola Tinubu’s administration, Guinness has announced it will exit the Nigerian market and sell off its controlling shares to Singaporean conglomerate Tolaram Group on Tuesday.

The brewery brand recorded a staggering N61.9 billion loss after tax between July 2023 and March 2024, just a few months after Mr Tinubu floated the naira in an effort to unify the currency’s value on the official and parallel foreign exchange markets.

But the move backfired and caused many multinational companies to suffer huge financial setbacks including Guinness Nigeria whose N61.7 billion loss after tax in Q3 was a 1,000 per cent decrease from the N5.9 billion profit generated in the same period last year.

The loss exacerbated by the naira’s continued downward trend may have informed Diageo, Guinness’ parent company, to sell its 58.02 per cent majority stake to the Singaporean group.

“Under the terms of an agreement signed today, 11 June 2024, Tolaram will acquire Diageo’s 58.02% shareholding in Guinness Nigeria royalty agreements for the continued production of the Guinness brand and its locally manufactured Diageo ready-to-drink and mainstream spirits brands,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.

Guinness Nigeria Plc, a public limited liability company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, was incorporated on April 29, 1950, as a trading company importing Guinness Stout from Dublin.

The Guinness brand has operated in Nigeria since 1950, but with Tolaram’s controlling stake acquisition expected to conclude by 2025, the global brewery brand will have spent 75 years in Nigeria.

In the statement, Guinness said the firm would leave Nigeria next year and hand over to a third-party venture.

“The transaction is expected to be completed during fiscal 2025, subject to obtaining the requisite regulatory approvals in Nigeria,” said the statement signed by Abidemi Ademola, Guinness’s legal director.

Diageo, however, stated that the sale of its Nigerian brand would not in any way affect its ownership of the Guinness global brand.

Diageo “will retain ownership of the Guinness brand, which will be licensed to Guinness Nigeria for the long term.”

Diageo’s exit adds to a long list of other multinational companies, like GlaxoSmithKline and Microsoft, that have left Nigeria in the last one to two years, citing the harsh economic climate as making business unprofitable.

Some of Diageo’s popular brands in Nigeria include Smirnoff Ice, Smirnoff Vodka, Orijin Bitters, Malta Guinness, Gordons Orange Sunset, and Dubic Malt.

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