Indorama-Eleme Petrochemicals targets listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange
…. Plans to raise investment to cumulative US$4.2 billion by 2020
Nigeria’s pioneer petrochemicals company, which has since been acquired by Indorama Group has revealed plans to enlist on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in about three years.
Manish Mundra, managing director and chief executive officer of Indorama-Eleme Petrochemicals Limited and Indorama-Eleme Fertiliser, disclosed this in an exclusive interview with BusinessDay in Port Harcourt.
Mundra said; “It should happen in the next two to three years. To tell you the truth, the market has not been very good. If it had been bullish, we would have done it earlier.”
He did not however disclose the percentage of equity the owners were ready to shed, to allow the public pick up shares, but made it clear that Nigerians already own 35 percent of the company.
He said; “If you see our numbers, Indorama owns 65 per cent. Nigerians own 35 per cent. We want the largest share by the public to be in our company.”
He explained that Indorama wants to go public because of its growth plan in the country.
“We intend to list because we have plans to grow. We see Nigeria as a place we can play long term. We see huge potentials and we have set our target. We need funds and see the Stock Exchange as the place to secure funds to invest more and more.”
Mundra further said that the company wants more Nigerians to participate in the success story of the petrochemicals and fertiliser firm.
Indorama may wish to go public to raise funds as Nigeria may be opening up its petrochemicals gate, since the country is blessed with an abundance of oil and gas reserves, especially associate gas. Mundra said; “If the policy framework is made to attract foreign investors, Nigeria can take in about $20 billion investments in three years”.
He also disclosed that Nigeria’s petrochemicals could earn the country as high as $20 billion (N6.2 trillion) but that only about 10 per cent of this has so far been taken up by Indorama Nigeria operations, with its current investment of $2.1 billion. He said Eleme supplies about 650 companies raw materials, despite operating at only about 75 per cent installed capacity.
He further observed that Nigeria’s competitors, such as Iran, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar, have been able attract over $90 billion or N28 trillion in the past 15 years, in the petro chemicals sector, while Nigeria was still at a mere $2.1 billion or N651 billion invested by Indorama so far.
He added that the huge investments in Nigeria’s petrochemicals sector would reduce dependence on crude oil exports, as is now the case with Middle East countries which rate alongside Nigeria in crude oil.
Outlining the huge advantage Nigeria has in the sector, he said, “There is the presence of abundant feedstock (hydrocarbons) and Nigeria is strategically located. Nigeria is strategically located in the Western Hemisphere. Nigeria is like $12 cheaper in freight from the Middle East. We can easily become a petrochemicals hub of the world in this place, because we have an amazing shoreline, great location, educated manpower, and feedstock; what else do we need? That is huge potential.”
Indorama plans to invest at least $4.2bn or N1.3 trillion in the coming years to improve its competitiveness in the global hydrocarbon industry.
Mundra said the company wants to be both a petrochemicals and fertiliser hub in Africa. “From the onset, we knew that Nigeria does not have phosphate and potash plants. What we did was to have a very big vision and so we acquired a company called ICS in Senegal, which is Sub-Sahara Africa’s largest phosphate plant, where we can produce sulphuric acid and phosphate and bring into Nigeria. This way, Nigeria can produce NPK from both plants through integration of the plants in Nigerian and Senegal.”
Indorama took over Eleme Petrochemicals during the privatisation exercise in 2005 to 2006. Then, Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (EPCL) was part of the NNPC. Mundra said; “The moment we gained access to the plant, we moved into action and under three months, we had done massive Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM). The biggest reason for non-performance of the place was lack of maintenance. We started progressing; then our next challenge was feedstock supply because the agreement was to finish in 2008. We worked on that and fixed that, along with the NNPC and ensured steady feedstock supply. Gas was not adequate. Since then, we have been partnering with AGIP, to see how we could enhance feedstock supply.’
“So, the first leg of our investment came; which was bidding and winning the 75 per cent; the second was TAM; the third leg was infusion of working capital; and the fourth leg was on expansion of the existing capacities and new products within two years. So, this whole investment got to between $550m and $600m within three years. That includes new products and investments. We also invested in the PET plant, which took care of imported raw materials.
“We thought that being the global leader in the business, we needed to set up a PET plant and this took almost $100m. By then, we had already planned to embark on a fertiliser plant, which would take $1.5bn. By this, we needed to also do a pipeline for gas and a jetty for export of what would be surplus. By the time we could secure gas and the jetty, it was 36 months. It is the largest single-train Urea plant in the world. This is a pride to us in Nigeria. We have capacity for 4000 metric tonnes of fertiliser per day. Put together, we have investment of about $2.1 billion here which would rise to a cumulative of about $4.3 billion in the next three years.”
Ignatius Chukwu & Ben Eguzozie
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