By Fadekemi Ajakaiye
CFAO NIPEN, the licensee manufacturers and distributors of BIC products including the internationally renowned ‘BIC Cristal Pen’, ‘BIC Shaving Sticks Range & Lighters’ and ‘Premium Ball pens’ and also one of the major B to B plastic players with leading position in Crates and Closure Caps categories, has continued its leadership in Nigeria’s plastics industry in spite of the economic recession.
This was stated by Mr. Steve Faderin, the Chairman of the Board of CFAO NIPEN, during the 41st Annual General Meeting of its stakeholders held in Lagos, recently.
Whilst considering the annual general report and accounts of the company, a subsidiary of the CFAO group in Nigeria, the shareholders noted that the weakening of Naira, scarcity of foreign currency, drastic fall of over 70% in oil prices have badly impacted the business environment. Noting the trending recession facing the business of manufacturing in the country generally, Mr. Faderin said that additionally, stiff competition from cheaper, substandard competitors created a pricing gap for NIPEN’s products. He stated that in spite of this scenario, the ‘Premium Ball Pen and Crates categories maintained about the same sales volume as the previous year. He said, “in the Razor category, whilst we sustained our market leadership position, the overall market contracted due to the decline in disposable incomes and the unrelenting assault by counterfeiters.”
During the interactive session at the Annual General Meeting, all attendees called on the federal government to come to the aid of the manufacturing sector to avoid a total collapse of the economy. On the part of the company, according to Mr. Faderin, “NIPEN will continue to apply its Kaizen programme of quality enhancement of its products and maintain adjustments of operational tactics to reduce exposure to foreign exchange fluctuations; the company would also look for further optimisation of operating expenses, preserving the capacity to produce and distribute and be in good position for expansion as soon as the economy stabilises.”