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How We Acquired Obajana Cement, Built Factory Alone- Dangote Industries Ltd

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The management of Dangote Industries Limited has insisted that its acquisition of the Obajana Cement Plc in 2002 followed due process, contrary to claims by the Kogi State Government.

Dangote stated that the Kogi State Government has no equity interest in Obajana Cement Plc, adding that the company as a responsible corporate organisation has been paying relevant state taxes, levies, and charges to the state government since 2007 when production commenced in the acquired cement plant.

The company made this known via a statement issued on Tuesday.

The company noted that the land on which Obajana Cement Plant is built was acquired by Dangote Industries Limited in 2003, adding: “After it had acquired the shares in Obajana Cement Company in 2002, following the legally binding agreement it entered into with KSG to invest in Kogi State. DIL was issued three Certificates of Occupancy in its name after payment of necessary fees and compensation to landowners.

“The plant and machinery were conceived, designed, procured, built, and paid for solely by DIL, again, well after it acquired the shares in Obajana Cement Company. The limestone and other minerals used by the Obajana Cement Plant, by the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution belonged to the Federation, with authority only in the FGN and not the state in which the minerals are situated, to grant licences to extract and mine the resources.

“After the agreement with the KSG, DIL applied for and obtained mining leases over the said limestone from FGN, at its cost and has complied with the terms of the leases since inception. The government of Kogi State had no minerals to give, had no assets to give, and only invited DIL as most responsible governments do to come into the State and invest in a manner that will create employment, develop the State, and earn it taxes,” it said.

Dangote further noted: “In 1992, the Kogi State Government incorporated Obajana Cement PLC as a public limited liability company. Sometime in early 2002, about 10 years after the incorporation of the OCP (which still had no assets or operations as of that time), KSG invited Dangote Industries Limited to take the opportunity of the significant limestone deposit in the State by establishing a cement plant in the state.

“Following several engagements and assessment of the viability of the proposed opportunity, DIL agreed that it would establish a cement plant in Kogi State and provide the entirety of the substantial capital required for the investment.

“DIL also agreed, following a specific request by KSG, to use the OCP name (albeit only existing on paper as of that time, and without any assets or operations) for the time being, as the vehicle for this investment. On 30 July 2002, KSG and DIL entered into a binding agreement to document their understanding. The agreement was amended in 2003 and remains binding on, and legally enforceable by, the parties to same.”

On the issue of an agreement between Dangote and Kogi State Government, the company stated that “it was agreed, inter alia, that: DIL would establish a cement plant with a capacity of 3,500,000 metric tonnes per annum; DIL shall hold 100% of the shareholding in OCP, and source for all the funds required to develop the cement plant; KSG shall have the option to acquire 5% equity shareholding in OCP within 5 years; and KSG shall grant tax relief and exemption from levies and other charges by KSG for a period of seven (7) years from the date of commencement of production.

“Consistent with the terms of agreement, DIL sourced for 100% of the funds that was used to develop the plant without any contribution from KSG. In line with its rights, ensuring alignment with the Dangote Brand, as part of internal restructuring and for better market recognition the name of OCP was changed to Dangote Cement Plc in 2010, and a number of other significant cement companies (such as the Benue Cement Company) owned by DIL were merged with OCP to become the enlarged Dangote Cement Plc,” the company added.

On the issues of ‘Execution of the Agreement: The Plant, Taxes, Shares and Dividends’, Dangote noted that “DIL assiduously and at significant cost met all the terms of the agreement between it and KSG in relation to OCP. It built the cement factory, much bigger and better than envisaged.

“KSG could not meet its financial obligations of contributing to the funding the plant in any form; neither could KSG fund acquisition of 5% equity shares in OCP when it was asked on a number of occasions to exercise the purchase option.

“KSG also did not meet its obligations to grant waiver of taxes, charges and levies that it could charge the operations, affairs and activities of OCP. Rather despite being entitled (under the terms of the agreement with KSG) to tax relief and exemption from charges and levies by KSG for a period of seven (7) years from the date of commencement of production, OCP (and now DCP) has paid all due sub-sovereign taxes, levies and charges to KSG since it commenced production in 2007.

“KSG does not have any form of investment or equity stake in OCP, so no dividend or other economic and/or shareholding rights whatsoever could have accrued to it from the operations of the company,” the company said.

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