West African Portland Cement Company
West African Portland Cement Company Plc (WAPCO) is a large publicly traded cement manufacturing and trading firm that also engage in electrical repair, it was incorporated in 1959. The firm also owns a paints company and Kraft bags Ltd. In 2007, it ranked among the top 200 business firms in Africa according to the African Business Research Company. The firm's headquarters is located in Ikorodu, Lagos.
The firm owns two major plants at Ewekoro (1960) and Shagamu (1978), Ogun State. The former was replaced by a new plant in 2003.
It has about 4,000 employees in its labour force headed by the Chief Executive Officer, George Lourandos. The board chairman is Bayo Akinnola.
The West African Portland Cement Company started production of its elephant brand in 1960 utilizing a 5 million pound investment put up by Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers (APCM), the Western Nigeria Development Company and U.A.C. The company was founded at a time the factory, tariff and shipping cost of importing cement was double the ex-factory price giving local cement manufacturers a fair advantage over competing foreign suppliers.
Prior to its establishment, APCM was earlier approached to fund a cement plant in Nigeria since it was already supplying 50% of the cement market. After researching the market it declined, thereafter, the government sought other interested parties including F.L. Smidth and Tunnel Portland Cement Company which contributed a limited share to the integrated cement mill at Nkalagu. After the establishment of the Nkalagu factory, APCM sensing it could loose market share sought out the Western regional government for partnership in a cement plant which will be located close to the Lagos-Ibadan market. At first, a limestone survey was conducted leading to discoveries at Ewekoro in 1957. Later, the West African Portland Cement Company was created with a 51% equity owned by APCM, 39% held by the regional development company and 10% held by U.A.C. The firm was able to tap into the rich western Nigeria market dominated by importers, it also used advanced technology and a processing technique that consumes less fuel to produce a ton of cement.
In 2000, 2,607,407,358 naira shares of WAPCO was sold by the government to a reputable cement manufacturer, Blue Circle industries. Blue Circle is now a member of the Lafarge Group.