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Huggies Owner Kimberly-Clark Exits Africa’s Most Populous Market

Huggies Owner Kimberly-Clark Exits Africa’s Most Populous Market
Kimberly-Clark Corp. Huggies brand diapers are displayed for a photograph in Princeton, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Kimberly-Clark Corp. is scheduled to report quarterly earnings on Oct. 22, 2018. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Kimberly-Clark Corp., maker of the Huggies brand of diapers, is shuttering Nigerian operations two years after it relaunched a $100 million manufacturing facility in the commercial hub of Lagos.

The company made the “difficult decision” to leave Africa’s most populous nation after almost 15 years of operations due to economic developments in the country and a shift in its strategic priorities globally, according to an emailed statement.

It will also cease manufacturing or marketing Kotex sanitary pads in the economy that was once Africa’s biggest.

Kimberly-Clark restarted operations in 2022 after it announced a similar closure in 2019 following a strategic review of its business.

The closure is the latest in a series of exits by global conglomerates including Procter & Gamble Co., GSK Plc, Bayer AG and Sanofi SA. Last year Unilever Plc reduced the products it manufactured in the country.

Currency Crisis Triggers Exodus of Businesses Out of Nigeria

While recent foreign exchange reforms reduced dollar scarcity that hindered imports of raw materials and repatriation of earnings, the resulting devaluation of the naira inflated costs of operations and the servicing foreign loans for many firms. This is compounded by unreliable electricity supply and congestion at Nigeria’s ports.

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The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria is scheduled to meet President Bola Tinubu next week to discuss challenges hampering production, the industry lobby said in a statement on Friday. The meeting “is necessitated by the state of the manufacturing sector, which has remained a major concern.”

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