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Africa calling
March 10, 2013 | FT.com | By William Wallis.

African entrepreneurs pre-empted this interest. One of the first deals that Mr Karim pulled off, acquiring the west African franchise for Costain, a UK construction group, speaks volumes about the changing times. Like other European contractors, the company was facing intense competition from Chinese rivals. When Mr Karim placed his offer, Costain was also wrestling with increasingly stringent western transparency regulations, a predatory governing elite and threats from insurgents and kidnappers in the oil-producing Niger delta.

After buying the company’s assets, Mr Karim replaced costly expatriate managers and freed up colonial-era villas in Ikoyi – the perks of expatriate office – which he rented out. In a flash he had cash flow to refloat the business and leverage other ambitions. These have seen him launch a power generating company and in November acquire an oilfield – a totem for any successful Nigerian businessman – in a joint venture with UK wildcat explorer Heritage, from another European company under pressure to adapt: Royal Dutch Shell, the oil major.
Africa  entrepreneur  China  Wal-Mart  L’Oréal  P&G  Nigeria  Nigerians  cash_flows  Royal_Dutch_Shell 
march 2013 by jerryking
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