Asaba Group Holdings Victor Edozien: The Prince of Steel

Nigeria-Americanbusinessman, Victor Edozien, has quietly built a $400m portfolio inthe American automotive manufacturing industry. He towers elegantly as Nigeria's imagebuilder in the global community.

MANUFACTURING plants across the United States of America havefaced steady close-downs as businessmen move their operations to Asia and LatinAmerica to reduce cost and optimize profits. This has led to high unemploymentand dislocation, leaving industrial centres such Detroit in ruins. If the situationis to be resolved however, it will be due to brave souls such as NigerianAmerican investor and business personality, Mr. Victor Edozien, whose string ofplants are keeping thousands of people in jobs and last year returned a healthy$400million turnover. Edozien's Asaba Holdings operates manufacturing,consulting and lifestyle businesses and has operations in five states in theUS. Its portfolio companies include the AG Manufacturing Inc, which is an Electricaland electronics sub-assembly manufacturer for the automotive, marine andmilitary defense industries; the SET Enterprises, which is a major provider ofsteel processing services to the automotive industry and the Asaba Group whichoffers strategy consultancy to the automotive industry and the US Air Force.The companies operate manufacturing plants in Michigan, Illinois, Alabama andIndiana. 'We have a portfolio turnover of $400m last year and our goal is toreach $1billion by the end of the decade,' Edozien told The Guardian at hisoffice located on the 66th floor of the iconic Empire State building in NewYork. 'The basics are there. We have over 700 highly motivated employees andour businesses are well run.'

Itis hard not be infected by Edozien's optimism about the ability of hisbusinesses to continue its dizzying growth, after all the total portfolioturnover of the operation was a mere $1.2million in 2004. So, how has this man,who grew up in Nigeria been able to leverage his talents to build a successfulbusiness in the United States?

Edoziensaid: 'What I do is seek competitive white space to invest in. I usually use myown money to do business, so I have independence in decision-making. But I alsohave a strong management team to run the various operations. I rely on them alot. I just provide guidance and strategic visioning. The crucial question forus is always, is there opportunity for us to move in? Once this is clear, I takethe decision to invest or not.'

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