The Aswani family from Sindh, Palestine, may not be well-known by many Nigerians as far as their family name is concerned, but they are one of the biggest foreign families in the country, having been in the country since the turn of Nigeria’s independence. CONTINUE READING>>>>>
The Aswanis own the Tolaram Group of Companies, one of Africa’s biggest and most successful food companies and conglomerates in West Africa. This company is about the most powerful in Nigeria as far as the food industry is concerned, with massive concentrations of products leading to huge profit margins yearly.
Khanchand Vaswani founded the Tolaram company in 1948 as a textile retail shop in Indonesia, where he had moved from colonial India, present-day Pakistan. He named it after his father, Seth Tolaram.
With the goal of expanding the Tolaram brand internationally, Khanchand gave control of the company to his only son, Mohan Vaswani, in 1957. By the 1980s, the family had transformed Tolaram into a global textile and consumer goods trading firm and was progressing into the manufacturing sector.
The company moved into Nigeria in the 1960s when it started operations in Africa. Towards the end of the 1980s, as Nigeria’s textile industry began to collapse, which led Tolaram to transition to the food industry, a very lucrative industry in Nigeria
Tolaram and Nigeria’s Food Sector
Several years after transitioning from a textile company to a food company, Tolaram didn’t hit the gold mine until the emergence of its subsidiary Dufil Prima Foods which produced a game changer – indomie noodles.
Dufil Prima Foods
The Tolaram group in Nigeria rose to prominence as indomie noodles gained popularity and became a staple food in that country. The noodle division, which began operations in 1996 in Ota, Ogun State, became the first and largest instant noodle manufacturing facility in Nigeria at the time. It is often said that what gives indomie the edge over its competitors is its unique taste which many rivals have been unable to get.
As one of the most well-known noodles in the world, Indomie gained such popularity that the company now generates over $1 billion in sales annually. Along with the USA and other European nations, the product is also exported to other African nations. In actuality, Tolaram’s food distribution and production operations span all of Africa and export to more than 75 nations.
Dufil continues to preserve its noodle dominance in Africa’s biggest economy by acquiring potential competitors such as Dangote Noodles and Minimee from May and Baker.
Dufil also manufactures other popular products, which are seen all over the country in supermarkets, kiosks, provision stores, shopping malls, etc. These products include Power pasta, Power Oil (vegetable oil), minimie noodles & chin-chin, Pure flour & semolina, Emperor vegetable Oil, food seasoning, and packaging materials. The company has manufacturing plants located in Ota, Kaduna, and Port Harcourt.
The Dufil Group is made up of the parent company, Dufil Prima Foods Plc., and its six subsidiaries, Northern Noodles Limited, Pure Flour Mills Limited, Insignia Print Technology LFTZ Enterprise, and Raffles Oil LFTZ Enterprise.
Other Food Products
Goodlife Magik Fruit Drink
In 2019, Tolaram Group announced the introduction of Goodlife Magik Fruit Drink, an healthy fruit drink targeted towards kids that comes in three variants, orange, watermelon, and mango.
Tolaram group also owns Arla Foods which produces Dano Milk, and Kellogg
Globally, Tolaram has significant joint ventures with Kellogg, Colgate, and Arla, with a workforce of over 10,000 people.
Tolaram also has consumer goods joint venture with food giants such as
- Nestlé Nigeria Plc: Milo, Carnation, Maggi, Golden Morn, Ideal, Cerelac, Nido, Gloria, Nescafe, etc.
- Cadbury Nigeria Plc: Bournvita, Chiclets, Clight, Halls, Sparkies, Trident, Tomtom, Buttermint, Bubbaloo, etc.
- Colgate Palmolive Tolaram Consumer goods joint venture with Colgate Palmolive/West Africa Hypo, Colgate
Outside the food industry, Tolaram Group has also diversified into other sectors.
Tolaram is also now making big moves into digital banking and infrastructure. Tolaram Group announced in 2019 that it is constructing Nigeria’s first privately owned free trade zone with an integrated deep-sea port in the Lekki neighborhood of Lagos. The seaport in Ibeju Lekki, Lagos, will be the largest in West Africa. It is also Nigeria’s single largest private infrastructure investment. The port is expected to have a total economic impact on Nigeria of approximately $361 billion over the course of the 45-year concession.
Other subsidiaries of the Tolaram Group in Nigeria are:
Lucky Fibres Plc: Its products are marketed under the brand Nobel Carpets. It manufactures printed, woven, and tufted carpets and rugs.
MBH Power Limited: an energy solutions company operating in the power sector.
Multi Pro Enterprises Limited: West Africa’s largest consumer goods distribution company.
VConnect: an e-commerce company with over one million businesses that provides extensive information about products, services, and companies in Nigeria.
The Tolaram Family
Tolaram Group is headed by Mowan’s son and a third-generation leader of Tolaram, Sajen Aswani, who oversees all commercial operations. He has held the position of Group CEO since 2000. The family also runs a foundation known as Ishk Tolaram Foundation, established in 2016. It is located in Nigeria and is headed by Sumitra Aswani, a trained doctor and daughter of Sajen. The family office is managed by a team run by Manish Tibrewal, who joined in 2004 as a finance controller in Tolaram’s noodles production unit in Nigeria. CONTINUE READING>>>>>