By Omodele Adigun
The N1 billion credit facility from the Nigeria Export Import (NEXIM) Bank and others from six Nigerian banks as well as the $80 million raised from international market helped to finance the expansion project of Beloxxi Industry Limited commissioned last Thursday in Agbara, Ogun State.
According to its Managing Director, Obi Ezeude, this has helped the company to raise its production capacity from 9,000 metric tonnes in 2010 to 40,000 metric tonnes as of today.
Recounting the support of Nigerian financial institutions, Ezeude said NEXIM was one of the few Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) that understands that the real sector needs a creative financing mechanism to be able to deliver value.
He stated: “Beloxxi was founded in 1994 as a trading company. By 2003, the ban on biscuits came and we went into manufacturing. We started producing in 2005. By 2006, it became clear to us that our model, which everybody felt would fail, was working. So we acquired green field filled with cassava plantation and things like that. And we started the construction. And by 2009, we had finished the construction. And we brought in one of the modern biscuit lines in this country today called crackers. And by 2010, it was commissioned by the then President Goodluck Jonathan with one line. At that time, we had only about 500 staff, producing 9,000 metric tonnes of biscuits per annum. But today, we have gone from just little over 200 staff in 2005 to 3,700 staff. We have the capacity today of about 40,000 metric tonnes a year of cream crackers and we produce about 28 million cartons.
“We couldn’t have done that without a very skilful cooperation between the banks and Beloxxi. The bank that actually helped us here is NEXIM. NEXIM and BoI played very big role without prejudice to any other banks whose name I will mention later that have helped in the process. NEXIM is one of few Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) that understands that the real sector needs a creative financing mechanism to be able to deliver the value. NEXIM and BoI supported us fully.
“In that line also was the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Using the agric facilities that we have, it was able to give us N2 billion to buy more lines. In that line also was Skye Bank. They did help us with all the guarantees and protections we needed. Of course, Fidelity Bank! They kept their promise; they financed one of the huge lines. These are the banks that helped to bring what you see today into fruition.
“Going further on that, in 2016, Beloxxi was one of the first companies, even at the depth of the recession, to raise $80 million at the international market.
That is what we are now using to expand our operations; to be able to produce 80,000 metric tonnes, almost double our capacity, create more variants of products in the market, and then be able to employ more Nigerians…”