• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

Who is TGI Group?

How TGI is fostering sustainable growth in Agric sector

Tropical General Investments (TGI) Group, a formidable global conglomerate, is making waves with a strategic focus on emerging markets across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. TGI Group’s investments are centered on fostering inclusivity and value addition, utilising locally sourced raw materials, state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and a dedicated workforce of over 20,000 skilled professionals. The result is a portfolio of world-class products consumed both locally and exported to global markets.

TGI Group operates in emerging markets across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia, contributing to economic growth and development in these regions. The conglomerate’s global reach positions it as a key player in driving inclusivity and sustainable business practices.

TGI Group owns over a hundred leading brands in fast-moving consumer goods, agricultural inputs, industrial chemicals, homecare products, and pharmaceuticals. In markets such as Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and the UAE, brands like Big Bull Parboiled Rice, Terra Seasoning cubes, Supramult Multivitamins, Golden Terra Soya Oil, Renew Homecare Products, Vinash, and Dragon crop protection products have become household names, touching the lives of millions of consumers daily.

TGI Group is a major exporter of commodities such as raw cashew nuts, cocoa beans, cotton lint, ginger, sesame, soymeal, soya bean, soy lecithin, shrimps, and fish. These products, originated and value-added by TGI Group’s companies, contribute to global trade and showcase the conglomerate’s commitment to quality.

This year alone, the group has commissioned new factories in Dubai – UAE, India, and Nigeria. They also launched various new production lines in Benin Republic, and several locations in Nigeria.

In 2019, TGI Group ventured into the financial services sector by establishing Titan Trust Bank. The bank has since acquired a majority shareholding in Union Bank Nigeria, the second oldest bank in Nigeria, further diversifying TGI Group’s operations.

A believer in strategic alliances to drive inclusive development, TGI Group has partnered with governments, development organisations including USAID funded West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, GIZ/CARI, GAIN, and so on.

Last month, TGI was part of Mr. President’s private sector delegation during his visit to Germany (November 2023) and where Union Bank signed a USD500 million contract for the development of renewable energy projects with Germany’s DWS Group (majority owned by Deutsche Bank) as part of Luxembourg-based Universal Green Energy Access Programme, which is backed by the United Nations Green Climate Fund as the anchor investor.

Just last week, the group again announced its partnership with the Niger State Government. Under the terms of this agreement, Niger State Government will spearhead the cultivation, harvesting, aggregation, and sales of vital crops such as paddy, soya beans, maize, and sesame seeds. Acting as the off-taker, TGI Group will assume responsibility for the seamless purchase and transportation of the farm produce. Through Union Bank, the Group also announced an investment of N50 billion as a capital infusion to kickstart production, with the ambitious commencement timeline set for January 2024.

In response to media reports surrounding documents purportedly submitted to the President by the special investigator probing the activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria, it has been noted that certain assumptions in the document linked the ownership of Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria to former CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele. Both Titan Trust Bank and TGI Group have denied having any connections with Emefiele, or acting as proxies for him.

It is imperative to categorically state that some of the assumptions made in the purported document are considered incorrect, potentially leading to conclusions that may not necessarily reflect the actual reality.

The involved parties maintain their commitment to transparency and due process and are open to providing accurate information to address any misunderstandings. Further clarifications will be provided as necessary.

Head, Corporate Communications, TGI Group, Rafiat Gawat, in a statement, said some of the assumptions in the report were incorrect, “thereby resulting in a conclusion that may not necessarily reflect the actual reality.”

She noted that as the majority owner of Titan Trust and Union Banks, TGI had been doing business in Nigeria for close to 45 years and had evolved into one of the largest companies in West Africa.

“Today, TGI employs over 20,000 people spread through the length and breadth of Nigeria. We have over ₦3.75trilllion in assets and as of 2022, our annual revenues stood at over N1.74 trillion.

“Our companies and entities are exemplary corporate citizens of Nigeria and pay over N50 billion annually in taxes to the government. The acquisition of Union Bank by Titan Trust Bank followed all the laid down rules and regulations. The approximately USD500 million capital used to pay for the transaction was transparent and unimpeachable. The entire transaction was managed by highly reputed global financial institutions including Rothschild and Citibank. And like most major acquisitions, the process took years to complete.”

Gawat said $300m loan was sourced from African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the rest of the capital was sourced from the proceeds of TGI’s sales of its Chi Ltd business to Coca-Cola, all to finance the acquisition of Union Bank.

“The purported investigation report recommended that the federal government should take over the banks. Such declarations based on incorrect assumptions portray Nigeria negatively, especially when the president is tirelessly seeking and courting foreign investments into the country.

“TGI operates in 13 countries, including Nigeria, India, Morocco, Germany and the United Arab Emirates in agribusiness, industrial chemicals, real estate development and financial services. The opening of our USD75 million dairy factory in Dubai in November 2023, is a further testimony to our international status and a proof of our presence in the country, contrary to the alleged claim by the purported report.”

She said TGI’s commitment to Nigeria’s economic development and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda was evident in our activities across the country.

“We are a partner with Lagos state government on the 32 metric-tonne Imota Rice Mill in Ikorodu, and was also the sole supplier of paddy rice to the Lagos-Kebbi Lake Rice project. TGI also partners with Edo State Government to run their fertilizer blending plant, where we are the only producers of the chemical blend of NPK fertiliser that millions of Nigerian farmers use every season.

“Additionally, we have state-of-the-art rice mills and Sesame factories in Kebbi and Jigawa states; foods and agrochemical production lines in Ogun and Lagos, and recently, signed a N50 billion financing agreement to support agricultural initiatives in Niger state which is projected to provide tens of thousands of jobs to the locals and improve food security in the country.”

Gawat said the investigator’s claim that Union Bank did not respond to his request for information was “misleading as all the information requested was submitted on the 1st September, 2023.

“It’s a well-known fact that Mr Vink, who has been in Nigeria since 1978, is an elderly person and has recently been medically advised to limit his movements. This was duly communicated to the investigator with supporting documents,” she stated.

“TGI’s capital, ownership and selling of Chi to a multinational such as Coca cola is proof that Mr Vink is not a proxy. The Group’s ability to engage and work with reputable international financial advisors and bankers attests to the Group’s global credibility. Union Bank was not owned by government and no government money (CBN or AMCON) was used to buy it. The process was diligently followed as captured in the report of the investigator.

“As responsible corporate citizens, we are always willing, ready, and able to support stakeholders including regulators to learn and understand our Group and its operations.”

In conclusion, TGI Group stands as a prominent global conglomerate with a steadfast commitment to fostering inclusive development and sustainable business practices across emerging markets. The conglomerate’s extensive portfolio of world-class products, strategic partnerships, and contributions to economic growth underscore its significant impact.

Amid recent media scrutiny, TGI Group, Titan Trust Bank, and Union Bank of Nigeria assert their transparency, adherence to regulations, and dedication to providing accurate information. As a key player in various sectors, TGI Group’s enduring commitment to Nigeria’s economic development, exemplified through partnerships and investments, reinforces its pivotal role in shaping a positive narrative for the nation. The conglomerate remains poised to collaborate with stakeholders, regulators, and the government, demonstrating its continuous support for the Renewed Hope Agenda and contributing to the nation’s prosperity.