These are certainly not best of times for the management and staff of one of Nigeria’s leading beverage company, Promasidor. For those who don’t know, Promasidor is the maker of beverage brands like Cowbell, Onga, Loya Milk, Amila, Top Tea, to mention only a few. If the formation reaching us is anything to go by, then the company is really in a big financial mess. Biznesswatch gathered recently that Promasidor embarked on a mass sack exercise of its large workforce due to cash flow problems currently plaguing the company in order to remain in business. Further digs revealed that a major chunk of the company’s sales usually comes from the northern part of the country, but no sooner than the killing and bombing unrest by the deadly Boko Haram sect began, the company sales nosedive irredeemably. Further investigations by this magazine revealed that sales from the north alone accounts for over 60 percent of the company’s total sales across the country. As soon as the management of Promasidor recognized this fact, they went back to their drawing board, and decided that the best option will be to embark on mass sack of its workers. This action caused a major unrest in the company to the point that the National Union of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employees, NUFBTE had to wade in. When the whole brouhaha first started, it was the casual staff that were mostly affected. You will recall that when the issue of the mass sack was first address by NUFBTE, the company decided to recall some of the staff but is was not business as usual as they were deprived of some of those benefits like car loan, housing, sampling products they use to enjoy. The cash crunch situation that the company found itself was further buttressed by the MD’s memo.  Mr. Richards in a memo to the workers dated June 22,2012 volume 5, issues 13, and titled “MD’s Communication: Back to work”, read in part, “With immediate effect, all salary advances, housing and other loans and staff sampling are suspended. As we desperately need to build stock to sell there will be no staff product issue at the end of this month. We will be undertaking a comprehensive review of our operations to establish our total manpower requirements in the face of current economic conditions. As yet, I cannot guarantee the outcome of this review. Much still depend on our productivity and our ability to sell in this very difficult market.” The company did not only stop at sacking the junior and casual staff, they went on to take on the some of the top managers that they feel are just sitting down and collecting fat salaries without doing little or nothing. A case in point was that of one of the senior managers who went abroad for a throat surgery, only to be welcome and greeted by a sack letter, which brought to three the number of managers that have been shown the way out. The situation was so bad that the management had to close and merge some department to be able to meet up with the current financial realities on ground. also gathered that the atmosphere in the company is not conducive at all as the wind of sack is blowing in the company. The remaining senior managers that are left are not sure of their stay in the company not even the MD, Mr. Keith Richards, who is just an employee of the company. Our source revealed that the management decided to focus on the manager because they feel that while some of them are working, others are collecting fat salaries without doing nothing.Since the company is battling to weather the storm and remain is business, one strategy the management has adopted is to cut down cost at all cost and the only was to do that is through downsizing. As we hear, more heads are still going to roll unless there is improvement in the cash flow of the company that will be largely dependent on two key factors, peace in the northern part of the country where the company’s products are sold the most as well as aggressive marketing drive. Keep a date with us, as we keep you posted on events as they unfold.


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