Nestle shareholders approve N7.9 billion total dividend
Shareholders Nestle Plc have approved the firm’s N7.9 billion total dividend, culminating to N10 per share due to every investor of the company for the 2016 financial year.
Speaking at the 48th yearly general meeting of the company, National Coordinator Emeritus, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu, lauded the company for the dividend declared amid harsh operating environment.
He stressed the need for the company to maintain the quality of its products in order to sustain its leadership position in the industry.
Nwosu urged the company to extend its water business production line to South East to tap into enormous opportunities in the area.
Furthermore, he called on the company to issue bonus scrip, noting that, it had been a long time bonus was declared.
Another shareholder, Williams Adebayo, said that the company should map out strategies aimed at reducing loans and borrowings.
Adebayo added that the company should consider rights issue for fresh funds to reduce borrowings.
The Chairman of the company, David Ifezulike commended government on its efforts to diversify the nation’s non-oil earnings by focusing on agriculture, solid minerals and local sourcing of raw materials for manufacturing.
He explained that there was need for government to ensure Foreign Exchange (forex) availability for critical raw materials, which cannot be sourced locally.
According to him, the 2016 was a challenging year due to scarcity of foreign exchange, devaluation of the naira and unfriendly economic policies, among others.
He pointed out that the scarcity of foreign exchange and devaluation of the nation’s currency led to increase in the company’s foreign loans portfolio, adding that the company was considering issuing bonus but would present it to the shareholders when the climate was right
Ifezulike explained that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) current foreign exchange policies had enabled the company to pay back most of its foreign loans.
He added that the company was considering a lot of investments ideas such as spreading to South East and South South, noting that, it would declared public at the appropriate time.
“2016 was a particularly challenging year for our country Nigeria. Even though it is the largest economy in the continent. Nigeria experienced a decline of 1.7 per cent in the GDP , a dramatic increase in the rate of inflation 18.55 per cent as at December 2016, a decline in the contribution of the oil sector to the economy and a decline in the ease of doing business rankings.
“There were concerns on the other aspects critical to investors such as the level of security, macroeconomic stability, underlying quality of institutions and infrastructure, and the strength of the financial system.
“In addition to these elements, the depreciation of the Naira against the dollar and various restrictions in access to the foreign exchange negatively impacted capacity utilization, revenue and the profitability of businesses operating in the country. “
He, however added that despite the harsh operating environment, the company’s revenue increased by 20 per cent, from N151.3 billion in 2015 to N181.9 billion in 2016, while profit after tax stood at N7.9 billion, against N23.7 billion achieved in 2015.
The Managing Director of the company, Mauricio Alarcon lamented that several shareholders are yet to collect their unclaimed dividend warrant and share certificates.
He therefore urged affected shareholders to complete the detachable application form for e Dividend and e Bonus attached to the report and deliver the completed form to the registrars.