NIGERIA – The Nigerian Ball-Point Pen Industries (NIPEN), manufacturers of BiC pens, Premium pens, BiC shavers and other plastic products has said it was able to grow its assets by 15.9% through additional investment of N186 million in property, plants and machinery.

The company also increased its revenue by 13.9% from N4.453 billion in 2013 to N5.075 billion in 2014 and raised its shareholders’ funds from N1.714 billion in 2013 to N2.277 billion in 2014.

This is a good result for its 2014 business year with an improvement in assets, revenue, shareholders’ funds and products sales even as the company plans to diversify into production of household and personal hygiene products.

This achievement was in spite of the numerous challenges the company faced during the period under review, said the Chairman, Board of Directors and Managing Director of the company, Mr. Stephen Faderin, at the company’s 40th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos recently.

The additional investment resulted to a 57% increase in marketing and distribution costs as well as a substantial investment dedicated to anti-counterfeiting efforts however, and led to an expected 40% reduction in profit before tax for the year.

Faderin, who is also the Group Managing Director and Country Manager of CFAO Group in Nigeria, said although BIC pens recorded a decline in sales volume due to fierce competition from low cost brands as well as smuggled pens.

Premium pens achieved a volume growth of 53% over the sales volume recorded in 2013, which according to him, was an indication of “better market acceptance in spite of some technical issues experienced in product development.”

In the Industrial Plastics Division he said “our strategic diversification into plastic crate production has been very helpful in moderating the effect of lower profit contribution from the pen category.

Plastic crates recorded 1.4 million units in 2014, a volume growth of 56% over the 900,000 units produced in 2013.

We believe that there remains ample opportunity to do even better in this category as our current production is constrained by available capacity.

The home plastics category recorded a modest growth of 12.6%.”

Faderin stated that the company was successful in maintaining its leadership position in the razor market with a volume of 91.5 million which was a 15.6% increase over 79.2 million units sold in 2013.

He added that this was no easy feat given the sustained attack by counterfeiters of the product, which he said was curtailed through the combined efforts of the company’s sales team, anti-counterfeiting team as well as government agencies such as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).

Looking to the future, Faderin said, “We have commenced preliminary exploration of the possibility of adding a number of household and personal hygiene products into our product range.

We have also commenced the evaluation of additional investment to improve our capacity in crate production.”

He said the company has commenced a comprehensive retooling of its production and supply processes in line with the international best standards and have also initiated a programme aimed at obtaining ISO certification by the first quarter of 2016.

February 13, 2016;