In a country where businesses are struggling to stay afloat as a result of harsh economic situation and poor patronages, Sona Group of Industries seemed insulated from the vagaries of Nigeria business climate as it has gone ahead to build strong businesses in the country.
Group Chief Operating Officer, Sona Group of Industries, Ashok Manghnani believes that one of the factors that accounts for the company’s success is because of its believe in the Nigerian project which has enabled the company to build strong brands in Nigeria where all its resources are sourced locally.
Sona Group of Industries started operations in Nigeria in 1994 and later on diversified into different sectors. It has within its group ten subsidiaries which command strong brands like Maltonic, Sabrina, Sona Coaster Biscuit, Plastic pallet and amongst others.
Speaking at the Nigeria Manufacturing & Equipment Expo (NME Expo) held recently, where the group participated, Manghnani said, “The promoters of the companies under the group are Nigerians by hearts who have spent many years in Nigeria and who believe in Nigeria.
“Most of the people in our management team are people who have spent many years in the country to know what Nigerians want, that is why for many years we have operated in the country building products sourced with local materials.
“We started with about six breweries and now we have diversified into Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), packaging, power and gas, manufacturing as well as in real estate.
“We are also into manufacturing of biscuits. We also have wine, soft drinks all made in Nigeria.
“We produce sorghum in large quantity which we get from the north.
“We have nine industries under the group though it is supposed to be 10, but the tenth is investment banking, which presently investment banking is not very lucrative in the industry.
Asked of how challenging it has been doing business in Nigeria, Manghnani said in Europe, the government subsidize their industries and would want to see the same situation applied in the country.
“Some of the challenges we face here is high cost of manufacturing coupled with poor power situation and high interest rate which revolves between 22 and 26%.
“You find out that importation is always cheaper compared to growing locally, however, we have found ways to get our materials locally though expensive but available. Gestation period in Nigeria is high part of which is based on raw materials which are sourced locally. After production we export our products to Ghana and other African countries,” he said.
Explaining the reasons for the group’s participation at the Expo, he disclosed that the Expo helps the group to showcase its products and services to customers and other stakeholders directly and the feelers gotten from last year’s event for example led to the production of paper cup, an addition to the innovative products of the group.
“Last year when we participated in the trade fare the feelers we got was what resulted to the production of paper cup which is part of what we brought to this year’s Trade Fair,” Manghnani posited.
He added that: “We want our clients to expect quality products from us. Even if we compete with people who are into importation, we can only assure them of quality and affordable products”.
Customers who visited the group’s stand applauded its innovative products and services. Afam Nwabugwu, one of the visitors explained that he consumes the biscuits, drinks produced by Sona Agro Allied Foods and Euro Global Foods And Distilleries; the group’s subsidiaries respectively and they taste great. He also stated that he uses the plastics and other products produced by the other companies in the group.
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