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Family Businesses in Nigeria: Coscharis Group

Dr Cosmas Maduka says he has been inspired to “build an institution that will be timeless in its relevance.”  As far as he is concerned, he’s creating that institution in Coscharis Group, the enterprise he currently runs.  

From its humble beginnings as an auto spare parts dealer, it has evolved into a multi-faceted conglomerate with investments in the automobile, agriculture, medical, foods, beverage, information technology, and engineering sectors.

Early Days

Cosmas Maduabuchukwu Maduka was born into the home of Mr Peter and Mrs Rose Maduka on Christmas eve, 1958. Long before he planned of establishing his own business, Cosmas Maduka was flung prematurely into the world of trade following the passing away of his father. His family had fallen on hard times, and his education was cut short due to inadequate funds. At the tender age of seven he hawked akara, a Nigerian staple prepared from beans, on the streets to assist his mother.

Cosmas’ first experience in auto parts trade came with a rather short-lived apprenticeship under an uncle in Lagos. After trying out a couple of unsuccessful joint ventures, he took the solo route in setting up Coscharis Motors which was named after himself and his wife Charity. 

Coscharis started out trading motorcycle components in 1977 and attained some level of success at it. Just when it seemed the business was on the up, misfortune struck again: Mr Maduka was swindled in one of his product import dealings. This loss brought his business to its knees.


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Growth

The year 1982 proved to be the turnaround year for Coscharis. A fall in petroleum prices had adversely affected Nigeria’s economy and the government was forced to restrict access to foreign exchange for importation by introducing licenses. To the astonishment of Mr Maduka, Coscharis was listed among a select few automobile companies to be granted import licenses. This event unbolted the floodgates for the Coscharis Group.

With its newfound status as a key importer of Japanese auto parts, Coscharis Motors recorded a massive upscale of transactions and began making major infrastructural investments. The establishment bought warehouses including a massive one worth $3.5 million, a factory, and showrooms. An extensive area at the Kirikiri Industrial Estate where the company’s manufacturing and assembling plant is presently located was also acquired.  In 1986, the first batch of locally manufactured motorcycle chains was produced there.


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Branching Out

In 1992, Coscharis Ghana Limited an auto parts importation and distributions company was established in Ghana. In 2015, Coscharis Motors were granted exclusive rights to assemble Ford vehicles in Nigeria under the subsidiary Coscharis Motors Assembly Limited (CMAL).

Over time, the conglomerate has expanded operations to include, among other things, water packaging and production of non-alcoholic drinks under Coscharis Beverages; rice cultivation and processing through Coscharis Farms; and car rental and logistics services under Coscharis Mobility.

Featured image source: Crest Hub


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Ikenna Nwachukwu

Ikenna Nwachukwu holds a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He loves to look at the world through multiple lenses- economic, political, religious and philosophical- and to write about what he observes in a witty, yet reflective style.

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