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Lafarge Africa assures’ investors of enhanced growth, profitability

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Michael Puchercos

Lafarge Africa Plc has assured shareholders of its commitments towards sustainable growth that will deliver improved returns to all stakeholders.

The management led by the Group Managing Director, Michel Puchercos disclosed this during the company fact behind right issue of N131.65 billion at the floor of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos.

According to him, the proceed of the right issue will be used for the refinancing a portion of the company’s foreign currency denominated shareholders loans, by way of debt to equity conversion and finance working capital requirement and expands operations.

He explained that most investments in the company have been through internally generated revenue or debt from the majority shareholder. Pointing out that the proceeds of the rights will resolve equivalent of $270 million of the debt effectively almost halving the foreign exchange exposure.

The right issue is probably one of the largest ever right issue transactions undertaken by a multinational in our domestic market and represents a huge opportunity for resolving the exposure of the company to foreign exchange risk. And provides shareholders the opportunity to increase their investment in the company.

The company is offering 3,097,653,023 new ordinary shares at N42.50 kobo per share, based on a ratio of 5 new ordinary shares for every 9 ordinary share. The issue price represents discount of approximately 17.5 percent to the closing price of N51.48 kobo as at September 22, 2017. The offer which opens on Friday 24th of November 2017 will close on Friday 15th of December 2017.

The Company Secretary and Legal Director, Mrs Edith Onwuchekwa, had in a recent notice to the public said it plans to raise N131.65bn by issuing five new shares for every nine held by shareholders at the cost of N42.50 per unit, represents a discount of 17.44 per cent to the company’s closing price on Friday, September 22, 2017.

Through the offer, LafargeHolcim, the parent company is expected subscribe to its rights by converting the outstanding value of WAPCO’s dollar denominated quasi-equity instrument of ₦150 billion (using current exchange rate of NGN305/USD) into equity.

Commenting on the rights issue, the first since 2005, Bolaji Balogun, chairman of Lafarge Africa, said the recapitalization exercise is to help the company reduce its foreign currency exposure by 50 per cent.

“The remaining portion of the debt, with the support from LafargeHolcim, has been refinanced and hedged for 12 months,” he assured shareholders at the last annual general meeting in June.

He noted that the decision to convert existing loans into equity “demonstrates the group’s continued belief in the Nigeria story,” adding that, “This is the largest rights issue and the largest investment in a listed company by an investor.”

The company said it was embarking on the rights issue to reduce its exposure to adverse foreign currency translation losses as experienced in 2016 following a 40 per cent depreciation of the naira against the United States dollar.



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