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Cutix Cables: Linking local innovation to national acclaim

By FRANKLIN ALLI

Cutix power cable plant, in Otolo, Nnewi, Anambra state is home to Nigeria’s fastest expanding cable manufacturing company.

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Growing from the dreams of Engr. Ajulu Uzodike, Cutix Plc, which he started after returning from a stint with Raychem Corporation in the United States, has grown too big to be ignored, not just by its local community but the entire country.

The company’s major products are bare stranded aluminium conductors and PVC insulated aluminium cables used in overhead power transmission and distribution; PVC insulated and sheathed round copper for household and other electronic equipment to power supply systems, and automotive wire and cable used in motor vehicles, among others.

According to the Chairman of the company, Mr. David Ifezulike, who spoke during the commissioning of Cutix’s new plant, recently, “the story of Cutix Plc cannot be told without recalling the vision and foresight of our founder, Dr. Engr. Ajulu Uzodike. He conceived the idea for the company after leaving Raychem Corporation, a major international manufacturer of aircraft and military wires and accessories, to set up an indigenous firm to manufacture electrical cables and switchgear assemblies.

“Adtec Ltd., a venture capital and management firm, was formed in 1978, while Cutix Plc was incorporated on November 4, 1982 as the cable division of Adtec Ltd. By mid-1983 some friends and relations of the founder and foundation staff handling the projects were invited to invest in the projects initiated by Adtec Ltd. After the private placement, 18 founding shareholders emerged as the new owners of Cutix Ltd. The start- up capital was N400, 000.”

Ifezulike said, the company went to the capital market, through the Second Tier Security Market, to raise funds, noting that the public issue which made Cutix the first private company from the eastern part of Nigeria to be quoted on The Nigerian Stock Exchange, was concluded on August 12, 1987.

“Cutix started production with one extrusion line in 1984 with staff strength of 20, and by 1985 it added a second line. By 1986, Cutix added several wire-processing lines to be at par with leading cable makers in Nigeria and elsewhere in the world. All machines were specified, installed and commissioned by Cutix staff.

“The company also incorporated as much locally fabricated parts as it could without lowering overall quality and efficiency. In 1992, the company went ahead to become the first manufacturer to acquire a plastic compounding line. In 1999, the first machine built by staff of Cutix was successfully put to service. The present staff strength of the company is 186,” Ifezulike added.

In recognition of its policy and commitment to quality of goods delivery and corporate uprightness, the company was adjudged the Best New Factory Award from Anambra state government in 1987. Cables produced by Cutix Plc are rated as one of the best in the Nigerian market by external assessors.

Confirming this, Ifezulike stated: “for her quality products, Cutix Plc has consistently won the NIS Quality Certificate Award of the Standard Organisation of Nigeria SON every year in the following gold categories – since 2003. Recently, the company’s quality management system was certified by the SON as conforming to the ISO 9001: 2000 standards. For the high quality of her business practices, Cutix plc has also won the Annual President’s Merit Award of the Nigerian stock exchange for corporate Excellence – a record seven times.”

Some of the new product to be added to the existing range include PVC/SWA/PVC; XLPE/SWA/PVC; XLPE/SWA/PE, all for underground installation for low voltage; XLPE/CWB/SWA/PVC for interference free control signals, and above 100ACSR for long span high tension transmission.

Minister of Power and Steel, Chinedu Nebo, was full of praise for the company during the commissioning ceremony; while not hiding his admiration for the industrial spirit of Nnewi people, he promised a better deal in terms of provision of power to the area to boost productivity.

 

According to him anybody who latches on to power now is a man of foresight, because Nigeria is generating just 4,000 MW of power while South Africa that has a third of our population is generating 40,000 MW.

In his remark, the founder of Cutix Plc, Obiajulu Uzodike, urged the minister to work on getting the local content policy for the power industry passed ‘in spirit and in letter.’ He made a case for Nigerians to support local businesses.

However, in an interview with Managing Director Cutix Plc., Ifeanyi Uzodike, he lamented that power has been a major challenge for the company, noting that stable power could drastically reduce the cost of doing business.

Uzodike, who is the President of Cable Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (CAMAN, said: “Our major challenge is the fact that there is no power and we have to depend on our power to carry out the installations here. “If you get to the factory you’ll see we are running on a 1000KVA generator at the new plant and another 1000KVA at the old site. There is unstable public power; we have to burn diesel and also buy new power generating sets. We have bought new generators that would be delivered soon, even. All these are money we could have pumped into other productive areas, but because of lack of public power, we have to generate independently.”

A lingering cause for concern to the company is the influx of substandard, cheaper cables into the Nigerian market.

“Actually, some business men who want to cut corners would go to China and ask them to produce cables to specifications that are below international standards, with the hope of making more profit. When these goods get into the country through the ports, customs officials at the ports turn a blind-eye, and allow the goods entry.”

Another pain in the neck for the business is poor implementation of Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) recently introduced in the country by the Nigerian Customs.

Industry actors assert that while PAAR is a policy introduced to assure that consignments coming into the country are valued in accordance with the tariff regime of the federal government under the relevant HS code, men of the Nigerian Customs seem to abuse the provision of the HS code and carry out arbitrary valuation of goods coming into the country without reference to the HS code thereby, adding unnecessary burden on manufacturers in the country.

 

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