List of Five Companies in Nigeria Established Before Independence That Are Still in Operation

List of Five Companies in Nigeria Established Before Independence That Are Still in Operation

  • Without a question, Nigeria's business environment is dynamic, and consumers' tastes and preferences change over time
  • Many companies that were unable to keep up have gone out of business, while others have become obsolete
  • However, there is a list of five companies which have stood the test of time and despite being in existence since the pre-independence era

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Could you believe that certain Nigerian companies have been in existence since the colonial era?

These businesses have reinvented themselves in response to the passage of time and the changing of the seasons.

Over time, they ensure that their products meet the demands of various generations.

Nigerian companies establish before independence still operating
President Buhari during the independence day celebration Credit: Presidency.
Source: Facebook

Investigation shows that out of the five companies in existence before independence, four are no longer known by their initial brand names.

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The companies that have changed names are part of the companies that survived the indigenisation decree, the Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Acts (1972 and 1977), that led to a restructuring of Nigeria’s private sector.

List of companies operating in Nigeria since colonial era

May & Baker

The company started operating in Nigeria on September 4, 1944 as May & Baker (West Africa) Limited.

First Bank of Nigeria (FBN)

Previously known as the Bank of Nigeria, Standard Bank of West Africa Limited, First bank was established in 1894

Over the years it has gone through various name change but was first known as First Bank of Nigeria in 1991.

Union Bank

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc is a commercial bank in Nigeria. It has been operating in Nigeria since 1917.

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The bank's history can be traced to 1836 when London bankers and British merchants obtained a royal charter from William IV to conduct banking business in the Caribbean. These group of investors then formed Colonial Bank.

Colonial bank began operations in Nigeria in 1917, the name changed to Union bank in 1979.

Flour Mills of Nigeria

Flour Mills of Nigeria is a Nigerian diversified agribusiness company, it was founded in 1960 by George S. Coumantaros just before Nigeria's independence from the British.

Unilever: Royal Niger Company

Unilever Nigeria Plc manufactures and markets consumer products such as Soap, and this business dates back to 1923.

Prior to becoming Unilever, Royal Niger Company was first known as United African Company, established by George Goldie in 1879. It was managing the affairs of Niger River (now Nigeria) during the British colonisation.

The name changed to National African Company in 1881, before it was replaced seven years later with Royal Niger Company, before it joined the larger United Africa Company in 1929.

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But this was not for long, as it became a subsidiary of Unilever in the 1930s, before it became Unilever itself in 1987.

FG releases names of 19,847 companies that can apply for its contract in 2022

In another report, the federal government produced a list of 19,847 Nigerian firms eligible to bid on ministry contracts.

The list was produced based on companies' compliance with employee pensions and insurance.

The companies listed are from media to health and agriculture and banks, among several others


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