Unilever to Raise Stake in Nigerian Arm
A file photograph of a Shoprite store in Lagos, Nigeria.Reuters

Unilever proposes to raise its stake in its Nigerian unit from 50.04% to as much as 75%, suggesting the consumer goods giant is betting on the anticipated economic growth in Africa's most populous country.

Unilever, in a 25 March statement, said it wants to raise its 50.04% stake in Unilever Nigeria, with the parent buying as many as 944.5 million shares at NGN 45.50 apiece. The offer is a 33.8% premium to Unilever Nigeria's closing share price on 24 March.

Unilever also said that the deal, at the intended offer price and with maximum acceptance, is valued at about €200m (£147.5m, $219.4m).

Unilever intends to maintain the Nigerian firm's listing on the local bourse.

Unilever's proposal is still subject to approvals from the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission.

Citigroup Global Markets and Chapel Hill Advisory Partners are acting as financial advisers to Unilever.

Bruno Witvoet, Executive Vice President of Unilever Africa, commented: "This Proposal demonstrates our commitment to the Unilever Nigeria business and confidence in the long-term growth prospects of the company and consumer goods sector in Nigeria."

Nigeria's economic growth could slow to 4.8% this year, from 6.3% in 2014, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said earlier this month.

The West African nation depends on crude oil revenue and the oil rout is expected to hit growth this year.