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    0700 JOHN HOLT (0700 5646 4658)
  • 11B Ilabere Avenue,
    Ikoyi, Lagos.
Over 120 years

John Holt History


What is today a giant business group was in fact the pioneering effort of one man.

The story began in 1862 when John Holt, just under 21 years old, with £27 in his pocket, sailed from Liverpool to take up appointment as a shop assistant in a grocery store in Fernando Po (now Equitorial Guinea). Five years later, he bought out his employer and subsequently built up a produce trade with the Delta Ports. Palm Oil, Palm Kernels, Rubber and Cocoa were exported to England. Imports included textiles from Lancashire and bicycles from Birmingham. In 1897, John Holt established his first VENTURE in Lagos.

Up to the Second World War, much of John Holt's business was in distribution and export of produce. A fleet of ships operated a fortnightly service from Liverpool to West Africa and the Company also had its own fleet of river craft.

Apart from produce and merchandise, these river craft also carried cash. Where banks did not exist, John Holt had strong rooms. Even after banks were established, many Nigerians preferred to deposit their cash with John Holt.

John Holt & Company (Liverpool) Limited was incorporated in 1897. In 1961 the company was incorporated in Nigeria as John Holt Limited. It became a public company and was quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in May, 1974. (symbol: JOHNHOLT)

The logo of John Holt consists of a brass manilla, previously used in some parts of Nigeria as currency and a five-point star, which signifies the Group's enduring connection with Liverpool (UK).

Click on a heading below to read more about John Holt Plc.