Dangote Cement targets 54m tonnes, pays N6 dividend
FOLLOWING an expansion exercise that has seen it embarking on a pan African investment drive, Dangote Cement Plc has unveiled a production target of at least 54 million metric tonnes by the end of 2017.
Under the strategic plan, the company hopes to consolidate its growth and expansion in the 13 countries where it has operational capacity while exploring measures to improve cost efficiency and profitability.
Besides, having recorded a profit after taxation of N185.8 million at the end of the December 31, 2014 financial year, as well as revenue of N371.5 billion, the company approved a dividend payout of N6 for every share held by its shareholders.
Chairman of the company, Aliko Dangote, while speaking at the company’s yearly general meeting in Lagos, on Wednesday, explained that the Pan-African investment and expansion exercise of the company is designed to help it explore bilateral ties by increasing activities within trading blocs in a bid to implement its export-to-import strategy, especially in regions that lack native limestone.
According to him, the company has been able to record sustainable progress in the countries where it has established its presence adding that the company remains optimistic in sustaining returns on shareholders’ investments. With a drop in the company’s dividend payout, Dangote explained, saying:
“With certain of our Nigerian operations exiting tax-exempt status at the end of 2013, earnings per share fell by 20.5 per cent to N9.42 as a result of the tax charged on profit from these older lines.
“In addition, there were some delays in the commissioning of projects in other Africa countries that left our overall revenues short of what we had hoped at the beginning of the year. Our company faced strong macro-economic headwinds during the year.
Falling oil prices, devaluation of the Naira and a slowdown in Gross Domestic Product growth all combined to subdue construction activities in 2014. “The ability of any cement company to succeed depends to a large degree on the health of the economies in which it operates. It was a challenging year in Nigeria for reasons that were largely beyond our control.
However, I am happy that we achieved many milestones across Africa and made the important transition from building cement plants to making cement.
We are well on our way to becoming a global and respected cement producer, operating in some of the most exciting markets in the world”. Some of the shareholders however commended the company for the dividend payout noting that the feat was commendable considering the challenges the company encountered during the financial year under review.
For instance, President, Pragmatic Shareholders Association, Bisi Bakare noted that the sustainable practice of dividend payout by the company is commendable adding that the company should consolidate its hold in the continent while further enhancing intra-African trade.
On his part, another shareholder, Dr. Farouk Umar urged the company to consider a price reduction of the commodity once macro-economic policies become favourable. Similarly, Nonah Aworh urged the company’s management to review the rising operational costs in order to further improve its earnings and dividend payable at the end of the 2015 financial year.
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