Three days after it first announced its decision to exit Nigeria, Kimberly-Clark, the American multinational that manufactures Huggies diapers, has begun the process of shutting down its operations in Africa’s most populous country after laying off nearly 90% of its employees, one person with direct knowledge of the matter said.

At a company-wide meeting last Friday, some 150 workers were told about the layoffs. The company has a relatively small number for a factory thanks to a high level of automation, one person familiar with their operations said. It also outsources sales and distribution to Multipro. Maersk, the Dannish shipping and logistics company, handled its imports and exports.

The retained employees will eventually be laid off when the exit is completed.

A communications manager for Kimberly-Clark did not immediately respond to a request for comments.

While it did not initially share a timeline when it announced its exit plan, the company’s actions mean it will write off its $100 million investment in a manufacturing facility that was launched in Lagos in 2022. It will also cease manufacturing or marketing its Huggies and Kotex products in the country. 

In a statement last Friday, the company said it is exiting Nigeria due to a “recently refocused company strategic priorities globally as well as economic developments in the country.” 

Kimberly-Clark’s departure from Nigeria after almost 15 years is a telltale sign of the struggles of manufacturing in Nigeria with companies having to deal with depressed consumer spending power, high cost of electricity, and FX scarcity. Multinationals like Unilever, GSK, and PZ Cussons have either scaled back or exited market segments entirely.

Ganiu Oloruntade Reporter, TechCabal

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