Listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on January 1, 1979, Golden Guinea Breweries located along the busy Aba road, Umuahia, the Abia State capital over the years with its wide range of products; Eagles Stout, Begedorf Larger and Golden Guinea malt became household names with patronage across the country.
It gave job opportunities for students on Industrial Attachments and graduates, including other job seekers.
Golden Guinea was originally named Independence Brewery Limited. It started production in 1963 with an annual capacity of 1 million gallons.
The company introduced Eagle Stout to the market in 1967 but between 1967 and 1970, further production was hampered by the Nigerian Civil War.
In 1971, the company changed its name to Golden Guinea Breweries and four years later, it was revamped and an extension built by the German firm Coutinho Caro which later participated in an equity offering issued by the firm.
However, production at the brewery was hampered by a fire incident in 2003 but recent attempts have been made to resuscitate the firm. The company holds franchise rights to produce and market Golden Guinea Beer, Holsten Brewery’s Bergedorf premium lager beer and Bergedorf Malta in Nigeria.
Majority shares in the company were later purchased by Pan Martine Investments Ltd promoted by Mr. Okey Nzenwa from Mbaise in Imo State.
Mr. Nzenwa then set about resuscitating ailing company. His company replaced the burnt boilers and proceeded to install an entirely new line of production making Golden Guinea the company with the most modern brewery in West Africa.
However, due to the financial crisis of 2015 and the skyrocketing cost of the dollar, the company ran into problems actuated by the cost at which needed equipment was invoiced and the prevailing cost of FOREX at the time of payment and delivery.
The crisis affected the ability of the company to meet projected resumption timelines.
The company needed more funds to complete its retooling works and because of its existing debt exposures, lenders were wary. Events ground to a halt.
Thus was the state of affairs until the Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu decided to lead a drive to resuscitate all moribund industries in Abia State irrespective of ownership.
It bears stating that almost all the industries in Abia State hitherto owned by Government have been privatised preceeding the assumption of office of Dr. Ikpeazu as Governor.
Leveraging on the solid relationship he had built with the Federal Government, Dr Ikpeazu took Mr. Okay Nzenwa to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo where the promoter of Golden Guinea stated his case and explained how macro-economic policy of the Federal Government affected his investment and has hampered his ability to raise new funds to restart the company.
The Vice President graciously approved the request of Mr. Nzenwa for Federal Government lending institutions to grant him facilities
A statement issued by the company disclosed that the funding package was provided by the Nigerian Export Import Bank (NEXIM) with the Bank of Industry also pitching in with an Economic Revival Facility.
These new funds have granted a new lease of life to the company and installation works have resumed in earnest.
Though a statement credited to the new investor has it that barring new untoward developments, Golden Guinea Breweries Plc, Umuahia will be reopened to the public in no distant time, but the promise never happened due to some setbacks that have been sorted out.
Governor Ikpeazu on Wednesday July 18th paid a visit to the factory to monitor the progress of work and expressed happiness with the level of work done by the new investor.
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