Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) on Thursday said that N106 billion would be invested in the company to boost profitability and enhance dividend payment.
Dangote told shareholders at the company’s 11th Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2016 financial year in Lagos that the money would be invested in the next four to six years. He said the investments, when concluded, would boost the company’s market share as well as dividend payable to the shareholders. The chairman added that about N101 billion had been committed toward actualisation of the company’s Backward Integration Project (BIP).
“To date, about N101 billion has been committed toward the actualisation of these projects on equipment purchase, land studies and survey, and sensitisation campaign for the local communities,” Dangote said.
He stated that part of the funds was committed to the rehabilitation and expansion of Savannah Sugar Company. Dangote also expressed optimism that the company’s target to produce 1.5 million tonnes of refined sugar from locally-grown sugarcane in the next six years was achievable. The industrialist said that the company remained committed to the actualisation of its backward integration plans, and would continue with the effective management of resources to achieve the set target. He noted that the company realigned the BIP strategy during the year under review, with focus on the full expansion of Savannah Sugar Company, the Greenfield Project in Nasarawa, and the Lau/Tau Project in Taraba. Dangote told the shareholders that the Nasarawa State Government had approved the project, noting that the company was in the process of cultivating 50-hectare sugarcane nursery at the site.
He said that the board was working very closely with the management to ensure that the projects were executed with financial discipline and integrity. Dangote said that 2016 was characterised by unparalleled events such as low oil prices, increased inflation rate, depreciation of naira and tight monetary policies. He added that other challenges experienced during the period were foreign exchange scarcity that affected procurement of key raw material supplies and reduction in consumer spending. Earlier, Dr Farouk Umar, the President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, commended the board and management for the enhanced performance in spite of challenging operating environment. Umar also commended the company for increasing its dividend payout to 60k, from 50k per share, and urged the management to ensure sustainability. Mr Sunny Nwosu, the National Coordinator Emeritus, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) also commended the company for the improved performance, and stressed the need for shareholders to claim their dividends.
Nwosu decried the spate of fraud in the market, and called on the regulatory authorities to address the issue. He alleged that unapproved selling of investors’ shares was affecting their confidence in the market. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the company for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2016, posted a turnover of N169.72 billion, against N101.06 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2015. Profit after tax stood at N14.39 billion, against N11.14 billion in 2015, while profit before tax rose to N19.61 billion, in contrast with N16.16 billion recorded in the previous year.