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Philips Plans to Double African Presence to 20 Countries by 2016

May 7 (Bloomberg) -- Royal Philips NV plans to establish a local presence in 10 new African countries over the next two years as the world’s biggest lighting manufacturer takes advantage of sales growth rates of about 30 percent a year.

“We are just trying to have a good spread across the sub-Sahara belt,” Chief Executive Officer Frans van Houten said in an interview in Abuja, the Nigerian capital, where he is attending the World Economic Forum. “Africa for Philips is still too small, but it’s growing at a phenomenal rate.”

Many international companies are boosting their presence in African economies that are growing faster than domestic markets in Europe and the U.S. Nigeria, the continent’s biggest economy, will expand by 6.75 percent this year, the government has said. Foreign direct investment rose 28 percent to $21.3 billion last year, and stood at $2.5 billion in the first two months of 2014, according to the statistics office.

The expansion will see Amsterdam-based Philips double the number of African countries where it has local operations to 20, van Houten said. It’s opened offices in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Uganda in recent years.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Kay in Abuja at ckay5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Vernon Wessels at vwessels@bloomberg.net John Bowker, Robert Valpuesta

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