American corporation Kimberly Clark, makers of Huggies diapers, has opened a new $100 million plant in Ikorodu, Lagos, in a new move by the firm to wrestle some market share from other leading brands.
In support, the Nigerian government and the Lagos State government pledged a combined N2.5 billion to develop adjoining infrastructure leading up to the factory site at Ikorodu. The pledge was made by the Minister of State, Budget & National Planning, Clem Agba, and Governor Babjide Sanwo-Olu of Lagos.
Kimberly-Clark, which has its headquarters in Texas and has a presence around the world manufacturing hygiene and medical products, began operations in Nigeria in 2012, with the introduction of Huggies diapers into the Nigerian market in 2015 and Kotex sanitary pads in 2019.
It faced stiff competition from pampers made by the U.S.-based Proter & Gamble, and Molfix, owned by the Turkish firm, Hayat Kimya.
Kimberly-Clark’s new facility has the capacity to create over 1,000 direct and 5,000 indirect jobs with potential to scale over the next three to five years of operation, the U.S. embassy said in a statement Monday.
It will produce diapers under the Huggies brand name, with the primary goal of producing quality Nigerian-made products for mothers and babies across the country.
The U.S. consul-general in Nigeria, Claire Pierangelo, said the country was proud to be one of the largest foreign investors in Nigeria as leading American brands expand their investment portfolio, providing job opportunities and supporting economic diversification objectives.
Delivering remarks at the commissioning of the facility, Mr Pierangelo noted that Nigeria is a critical market for American companies and improving the investment climate would result in more milestones for both countries.
“U.S. Mission to Nigeria continues to work with our counterparts in the Nigerian government to promote an environment that is inviting to U.S. businesses. Through this model of cooperation, we will realize mutually beneficial outcomes – increasing investment, capacities for job creation, and partnerships while improving the lives of workers and consumers,” he said.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo cuts the ribbon to unveil the plaque at the official commissioning of Kimberly-Clark’s $100m investment in Nigeria with the U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo, Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, staff members of Kimberly-Clark and other dignitaries.
Mr Pierangelo explained that the commissioning of the new facility showcases the commitment of the United States to deepen its trade and investment ties with Nigeria. She commended Kimberly-Clark for its investment in Nigeria and the company’s contribution to improving hygiene and the health of the people of Nigeria.
Mr Osinbajo said every new manufacturing plant is an important step towards the government’s belief that private investments – both local and foreign is the pathway to rapid economic growth.
“Kimberly-Clark West Africa has grown from just being an investor in Nigeria to a formidable partner in the actualisation of Nigeria’s economic objectives, by adding value through diversification,” he said. “The company has led, commendably, important social investments, including, sponsoring the education of the Dream catchers who danced here, just a few moments ago. This factory, I trust, will only signal the beginning of greater investment in this and other sectors.”
The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) said it was proud to welcome Kimberly Clark and be associated with their success story.
It said when Kimberly Clark set out to build the plant, they did not envisage that a global pandemic will catch up with the project however, in a show of resilience, they carried on with the 18-month long task of setting up even through the peak of the COVID pandemic.
Speaking on the sidelines of the launch, NIPC’s acting Executive Secretary/CEO, Emeka Offor, committed to providing Kimberly Clark aftercare services to support their operations.
Other government officials at the event included Richard Adebayo, Minister, Industry, Trade & Investment; Pauline Tallen, Minister of Women Affairs; Mr Agba, Minister of State, Finance, Budget and National Planning; and Babajide Sanwo-Olu, Governor of Lagos.