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The BUA Group is a major foods and infrastructure conglomerate in Nigeria with interests in various sectors of Nigerian enterprise. It was originally established as a trading concern involved in the importation of rice, iron, and steel. Since its acquisition of oil plants in 1991, the company has spread its tentacles to the fields of manufacturing, real estate, and infrastructure.

BUA Group was founded by Abdul Samad Rabiu, the son of famed Kano businessman Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu. In 1986, Rabiu made his entry into the Nigerian corporate sphere after graduating from Capital University, Ohio, in the United States. He had returned to Nigeria to pilot the family business in the absence of his father, who had been imprisoned. He inherited land from his father and went on to establish BUA International Limited two years after.

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Growing a Corporate Empire

The company cut its teeth in oil milling with the acquisition of BUA Oils’ two refinery plants in 1991 and subsequently, Golden Oil Limited, becoming the largest vegetable oil processing enterprise in West Africa. 2005 marked the establishment of BUA Sugar Refinery, the second largest of its kind in West Africa, with BUA Ports and Terminals coming the following year.

Cement production commenced in 2008. Sokoto and Edo Cement companies were acquired in 2009 and the BUA Obu Cement plant was added to the fold in 2015. Kalambina Cement, with a generating capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum, and Obu Cement Line 2 were completed in 2018.

BUA runs two mega automated refineries in Lagos and Port Harcourt for the processing of household and industrial sugar. Extensions of its sugar productions are estates and plantations in Kwara and Kogi states. The company’s oil mills produce groundnut and cottonseed oil, distilled fatty acid, and other kinds of oil.

BUA also provides real estate for residential, commercial, and mixed purposes. Its residential projects include BUA Kado Estates (204 separated live-in duplexes), BUA Hills (40 Units Mansion in Asokoro, Abuja) and 40 units of terraced houses in Abuja called BUA Court.  Commercial and mixed-use projects include BUA Towers and The BUA Place both in Victoria Island, Lagos and BUA Business Park in FCT, Abuja.

Other BUA Group business investments are in port operations and cement production. BUA’s Port Harcourt Terminal ‘B’ provides multiple services including handling and storage of sundry items such as PMS, steel, cement, and agro oils. Its cement subsidiaries and plants at Sokoto (Kalambina Cement Company Limited and Cement Company of Northern Nigeria), Okpella (Edo Cement Company Limited), and Obu account for an estimated 2 million metric tonnes per annum.

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Awards and Philanthropic Concerns

Abdul Samad Rabiu was recently named on Forbes’ list of African billionaires in 2019. This followed the merger of the Kalambina Cement firm and the Cement Company of the North in late 2018. The merger gave Rabiu a 97% stake in the latter company and increased his fortunes by nearly a third.

However, Rabiu insists that he is more concerned about making a positive impact through his businesses. He currently funds the BUA Foundation, his conglomerate’s philanthropic arm. The foundation has provided basic services to underserved communities, such as free medical care for schools. In 2018 BUA announced its plans for the construction of a 220-bed specialist hospital in Kano costing ₦7.5 billion.

In 2016, Rabiu was named CNBC Africa’s industrialist of the year. CNBC Africa said it had presented him with the award for “epitomizing the core values of a successful leader, strength, ingenuity, innovation, and foresight. 

Featured image source: Financial Nigeria

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This article was first published on 1st November 2019


Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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