Oil Palm Giant Presco Returns to Nigeria After 33-Year Belgian Control

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After 33 years of being absent in Nigeria, Nigeria’s Oil palm powerhouse, Presco has finally switched ownership from long-time investor Siat N.V, based in Brussels, Belgium, which had held on to the company’s majority control for well over three decades until the start of this month.

The oil palm processor said in a regulatory note that Fimave N.V., who holds 86.7 percent of the total issued shares of Siat, which owned a 60 percent interest in Presco, consummated a deal shifting that stake to Oak and Saffron Limited.

Further check with Corporate Affairs Commission shows Oak and Saffron is backed by Rasheed Sarumi, founder, owner and managing director of Saro Africa International, an agribusiness group, which subsidiaries include Gossy Warm Springs, Saro Agrosciences, Saro Oil Palms and Saro Lifecare.

In a document, Presco stated that Oak and Saffron is “established for oil palm, rubber and horticulture businesses” and “intends to keep Presco Plc listed on the NGX.” Yet, the company has little or no online presence, with no website.

The document also stated that the transaction is “strategic” for Oak and Saffron, especially “its long-term commitment to developing the oil palm and rubber industries in West Africa and the horticulture industry in China, Belgium and the United States.”

Presco is located in Benin City, which is the country’s biggest fully integrated agro-industrial palm processor. In addition to six oil palm plantations are a palm kernel crushing plant, palm oil milling facilities, and vegetable oil refining & fractionation plants, controlling approximately 50,000 hectares of currently-cultivated oil palms on a plantation able to produce 100,000 metric tons of palm kernel oil, crude palm oil and natural rubber in thousands of metric tons every year.

Siat has been in operation in Nigeria since 1991, and it bought over the then government-owned Obaretin Estate, comprising 2,700 hectares of cultivated area.

March last year, it was reported in Europe for polluting the groundwater of its host community in Rivers State where the company bought over the assets of Risonpalm, a smaller rival company owned by the state.

These issues and others such as deforestation, and land grabbing for oil palm production are putting a strain on the company’s functionality and generating heated debates on the need for the industrial oil palm industry to adhere to high environmental, social and governance (ESG)principles.

Presco ended 2023 with a 27.3 percent growth in revenue, and its net profit, at N30.4 billion, which is recorded to be more than three times higher than the previous year’s. Not only that, according to its unaudited earnings report, Presco’s Total assets rose to N171.7 billion from N132.4 billion the previous year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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