Harsh Economy: Guinness quits Nigeria after 75 years

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Guinness Breweries Plc has announced it will quit the Nigerian market and sell off its controlling shares to Singaporean conglomerate Tolaram Group.

This is contained in a statement issued and signed by Abidemi Ademola, Guinness’s legal director in Lagos on Tuesday.

With this development, the conglomerate has joined a long list of multinationals, like GlaxoSmithKline and Microsoft, that have left Nigeria, citing the harsh economic climate in the country.

The brewery company recorded a staggering N61.9 billion loss after tax between July 2023 and March 2024.

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That was just a few months after President Bola Tinubu floated the naira in an effort to unify the currency’s value on the official and parallel foreign exchange markets.

Guinness Nigeria’s N61.7 billion loss after tax in Q3 was a 1,000 percent decrease from the N5.9 billion profit generated in the same period last year.

This led to 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.

“This is for the continued production of the Guinness brand and its locally manufactured Diageo ready-to-drink and mainstream spirits brands,” the statement said.

“The transaction is expected to be completed during fiscal 2025, subject to obtaining the requisite regulatory approvals in Nigeria,” said the statement.

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

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