BusinessDay

Nigeria shines as FT unveils Africa’s fastest-growing firms

Twenty-one companies in Nigeria that are making their entrepreneurial endeavours count against all odds have been listed in a ranking by the Financial Times (FT) among the fastest-growing companies in Africa. BusinessDay was a cooperation partner in the research.

Covering the period between 2017 and 2020, while taking the COVID-19 pandemic into consideration and highlighting the companies that successfully adapted to the resultant challenges, the FT’s ranking showed Nigeria has the second-highest number of successful companies after South Africa with 24 companies. Kenya came third with nine companies.

According to the FT, the countries with the highest representations are also the markets that have attracted the most venture capital and where unicorns (companies valued at $1 billion+) and would-be unicorns have proliferated.

The successful companies were ranked based on their compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue between 2017 and 2020, as demanded by the FT and research company Statista.

The criteria included that the revenue generated by the firm must be at least $100,000 in 2017, revenue of at least $1.5 million in 2020 which must be organic, the company must be headquartered in one of the African countries, and it is not a subsidiary or branch office of any kind.

The successful Nigerian companies are AFEX Commodities Exchange, Zedcrest Group, Starsight Energy, Kawai Technologies, West African Soy Industries Limited, Commercio Partners, Northern Nigerian Flour Mills (NNFM), Alpha Morgan Capital Managers, WACOT Rice, Field Intelligence, and Tripple Gee & Company.

Others are FoodCo Nigeria, Global Accelerex, Prestige Assurance, Julius Berger Nigeria, Genesis Food Nigeria, Courteville Business Solutions, RT Briscoe Nigeria, Mutual Benefits Assurance, United Capital and HIS Netherlands Holdco BV.

Six of the successful Nigerian companies are listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited.

“It is a significant accomplishment and recognises the work we have been doing over the past eight years. Although the global pandemic has proved challenging over the past two years, we’ve worked extremely hard to improve Africa’s commodity market,” Ayodeji Balogun, CEO at AFEX Commodities, said.

Further findings showed AFEX Commodities topped the Nigerian list, posting 4,289.7 percent average growth between 2017 and 2020, and ranked third in Africa. Zedcrest Group, a firm whose growth has been spurred by innovation in the nation’s financial services, was ranked second in Nigeria and fifth in Africa with 1,481.7 percent growth.

“It’s an honour to be ranked on the inaugural FT Africa’s Fastest-Growing Companies list,” said Adedayo Amzat, Group Managing Director at Zedcrest Group. “It is a direct reflection of the leadership team we have in place, and I couldn’t be more proud of our team. We’ve been fortunate to extend our business across different verticals of the financial sector over the past few years and we’ll continue to evaluate opportunities in other markets as part of our future growth strategy.”

He reaffirmed the company’s commitment to building inter-connected financial solutions across Africa through technological innovation while ensuring global best practices.

Starsight Energy posted 1,154.4 percent growth to be ranked sixth in Africa. It was followed by Kawai Technologies, which recorded 535.6 percent growth during the period. West African Soy Industries, a firm in the nation’s agricultural sector, recorded 507.6 percent growth.

Commercio Partners, NNFM, Alpha Morgan, WACOT Rice, Field Intelligence, Tripple Gee and Co. all recorded revenue growth of between 170.1 percent and 232.3 percent. HIS Netherlands Holdco BV, FoodCo Nigeria, Global Accelerex, and Prestige Assurance posted growth of between 80 percent and 160 percent.

Nigeria’s construction giant, Julius Berger, grew its revenue during the period by 70.3 percent. Genesis Food, 54 percent; Courtville, 50.8 percent; Briscoe, 48 percent; Mutual Benefits, 45.4 percent, and United Capital, 44.3 percent.

Some companies are missing from the list, the British paper says, for reasons that include private companies refusing to disclose their revenue figures. The survey required a chief executive or similar senior figure to certify revenue numbers.

Read also: Nigeria’s biggest downstream firms grow profit by 57% despite dirty petrol saga

Announcing the list of the successful African companies, FT said: “From digitising informal trade to fintech and mining, the inaugural list reflects trends on the continent.”

It said following the application phase, Statista examined the officially stated revenue data of about 900 companies in Africa, adding that high-profile companies that met the criteria for inclusion were added to the list.

It said the data were collected through research using official sources, such as publicly available earning presentations, investor relations websites, or annual reports.

According to the FT, the inaugural annual ranking of Africa’s fastest-growing companies provides a snapshot of the corporate landscape in a continent where technology and support-service businesses have had to adapt to a radically altered environment.

It said chief among the recent challenges had been operating within the tough restrictions introduced by many African governments to combat COVID-19.

It said: “In the end, outside of South Africa and parts of north Africa, the health impact has been less severe than many feared. But the economic consequences of lockdown-especially in crowded urban settings where many lived hand to mouth-have been devastating.

“Many of the fastest-growing companies, especially in the fintech sector, are those seeking to tap Africa’s unbanked population, or markets that have previously been underserved or ignored. The health and education sectors, for example, spurred by unmet need and rising aspirations, are among those offering most scope for growth.”

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