Portland Paints & Products sits in prime position to gain even more Nigerian market share, after clever strategic planning has helped the company into a stronger state than previous years.
The organisation has grown to be a leading paints company with decades of experience in manufacturing, distributing, and marketing a wide range of decorative, automotive and industrial paints. This is as well as offering marine and protective coatings and sanitary ware that support the building, construction and oil and gas industries in Nigeria.
The firm started off as a small division of a larger manufacturing company, called West African Portland Cement (WAPCO), and it became a wholly-owned subsidiary of WAPCO in 1985. WAPCO went through an ownership change from part-ownership by a British company called Blue Circle Industries, to majority-ownership by the French firm Lafarge, who decided to concentrate on core business, which meant that this division had to close.
Olufemi Oguntade, CEO of Portland Paints & Products Nigeria, said: “We have improved our processes to gain on internal operational efficiency which has translated into much better profits for the shareholders. We grew the bottom line by 72 last year and now have over 200 staff.
“It is a great achievement considering the many changes with have overcome in the past decade. The company was disposed of through a Management buyout in 2004, and the immediate past Managing Director led the team of five management staff that took it over. The MBO Team had limited funds, but later secured the support of a British Private Equity company, Aureos West Africa Fund. They gave the financial support needed to fully take over the Company and together with local management, were able to further develop it, and build it to where we are today.
“We had our fair share of challenges along the way, going from having to borrow funds, through running a heavily-indebted business, to becoming a leader in the Nigerian paint industry. Since then we have continued to grow steady, and in 2009 we were listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. In 2013, the foremost Nigerian Conglomerate, UAC of Nigeria bought out Aureos and became a 51 percent majority shareholder of Portland Paints.”
Portland Paints flagship brand is the Sandtex range of high quality decorative paints which have been formulated after many extensive researches to provide protection and aesthetics for all types of residential and commercial buildings. They are made with high quality input under strict quality control and the product has a 5-year guarantee offer.
Oguntade said: “We represent Crown Paints, one of UK’s largest paints manufacturers, in Nigeria through our Sandtex Paints Colour Boutique, a recently introduced paints retail channel where a computerised colour delivery system can instantly produce more than 15,000 colours direct to big projects, architects, contractor’s, home owners, painters and decorators.
“The products in the Crown Trade and Sandtex Trade range are import-quality brands for high-end residential and commercial projects. We are also the Agency in Nigeria for Armitage Shanks and Ideal Standard Brands of Sanitary Ware and Fittings. We also represent Jaquar brands of India.
“All our products are in great demand by state and federal governments, corporate organisations, building contractors & engineers, architects as well as private property developers and individual project owners.”
These brands provide a range of bathroom products to suit diverse needs for hotels, hospitals, schools, hotels, homes and other public places. They are products designed for high, medium and low income housing projects, varying commercial and industrial uses and needs of the less-able individual.
Set for further growth
Coupled with the recent increase in bottom line, Portland Paints has reorganised its route to the market by inviting partners to take ownership of sales depots through the depot franchising model, thus achieving greater efficiency.
Oguntade added: “We are working at strengthening our footprints in the marine/protective and auto/industrial lines to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in those sectors.
“To complement this, the quality of product offerings and service delivery have improved considerably via the introduction of first of its kind ‘In-Plant & Point of Sale Tinting System’ of our conventional, locally manufactured paints. Since our majority shareholder, UAC of Nigeria, took a 51 percent stake in 2013 we have integrated our processes and a lot of seminars and staff training has taken place to ensure we retain highly skilled staff.
“We have a full-fledged Risk & Compliance Policy which we have continued to follow rigorously through periodic audit of our operations by both External Auditors and our full-fledged Risk & Compliance Unit. We are also ISO Certified.”
Portland Paints source input materials and merchandizing products both locally and abroad. For most of its locally sourced materials, it operates a Vendor Management Inventory (VMI). By this process, it warehouse suppliers’ goods and the goods are not invoiced until it has used them in production. This has assisted the firm a great deal in the management of its working capital.
The company has improved considerably in its product offerings in the decorative segment of the business. Aside from the marine and protective growth lines, it will also deepen the industrial and automotive segment by capitalising on recent government policy in the automotive industry. On accomplishment of this objective it hopes to have gained a substantial share of the Nigerian paints industry; it looks well set to achieve this goal.