Inside Business Africa INSIDE BUSINESS AFRICA AUGUST 16 2017 1cdr - Page 16

I N S I D E B U S I N E S S A F R I C A Cover Feature July 30 - August 13, 2017 Mr. Sri Lohia Africa by volume, behind South Africa's Sasol, and a centerpiece of oil- rich Nigeria's efforts to become the petrochemicals hub for Africa. "Our growth there [Africa] is extremely important," says Lohia, 60, who chairs Singapore-domiciled Indorama Corp., a producer of petrochemicals such as polyolefins (resins used to make such items as Croc shoes, tennis strings and auto parts). Lohia moved into Nigeria following an approach by then president Olusegun Obasanjo at the 2005 Africa- Asia Summit. He bought the plant from the government at auction for $225 million in 2006. The bid secured a 75% stake, which was later cut to 65%, with the remainder owned by various Nigerian parties, including the government. The plant was in sad shape when acquired, operating at a fraction of its capacity. There were doubts it could be turned around. Undeterred, Lohia shut it down for inspection, repair and maintenance, starting in May 2006. By September it was back up. Today it operates at capacity and produces 350,000 tonnes of polyolefin a year, sold mostly in Nigeria but also exported. "It is safe to say that we are one of the