Eleme Petrochemicals Company Limited (EPCL), located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, is a petrochemicals complex originally fully-owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria and commissioned in 1996. Although constructed to international standards, located to take advantage of Nigeria’s abundant supplies of natural gas, and designed to manufacture products for which there was consistently high demand, EPCL was never managed properly, at no time operated to its potential, and was a significant loss maker and drain on the State treasury.
Pre-privatisation documents indicate that EPCL had an untenable debt burden, needed capital investment, and would not be profitable for its buyer for several years.
In 2006, EPCL was privatised by the sale of 75% of its shares to a core investor through a competitive bidding process. Little international interest was attracted. The company was sold to Indorama Group without liabilities which were retained by the FGN. The company was handed over on October 26, 2006
Indorama immediately embarked upon a $130 million turnaround maintenance and capital investment programme, returning the facility to operating condition within four months. Its production output quickly surpassed pre-privatisation levels. EPCL immediately returned to profitability, buoyed by rising world prices for the polyolefins it produced. The company earned a net income after tax of 43.4% for the first half of 2008, less than two years after privatisation. EPCL is performing remarkably better after privatisation than it ever did while in State hands.
Some milestones achieved by Indorama Group since takeover include:
- Investment of over US$470 million for the 75% EPCL equity;
- EPCL had the highest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the downstream non-oil & gas sector;
- EPCL committed and built the largest petrochemical company in Nigeria ;
- A new plant for Polyethylene Terephthalate production commenced in 2012;
- Fertilizer and Methanol projects with an estimated investment of US$1.8 billion.
- Indorama is the world’s largest polyester producer with 4.7Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) capacity;
- Indorama is among the largest purified Terephthalic Acid (PTA) producers with 1.8 MMT capacity;
- Turnover crossed US$550 Million;
- Highest ever yearly production of 295,865 MT of polymer production;
- Dividend payment of over N33.9 billion to FG through BPE, NNPC & Rivers state;
- Became the net exporter of petrochemical products in America, Europe, Asia & Africa and won the presidential award for Exports in 2010.