Presco investment in rubber to boost forex earnings
Shareholders okay firm’s N2b total dividend
Presco Plc has said its new investment in rubber will attract foreign exchange (forex) earnings into Nigeria, and boost business expansion.
The Managing Director, Presco, Felix Nwabuko, in an interview with The Guardian at the company’s 25th yearly general meeting, held in Benin, Edo State, on Wednesday, said the investment is expected to reduce dependence on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for forex interventions.
Besides, Presco shareholders approved the dividend payment of N22.37billion for the year ended December 31, 2017, amounting to 200kobo per share compared with the N1.5billion or 150kobo per share paid in 2016.
Chibuko explained that the company is poised to continue with the planned long term expansion exercise that fall under import substitution, forex earnings, and green energy.
“Our investment in that area is to attract more forex into the country so that we can run our business. Our business requires quite a substantial amount of forex, and also, as we bring them in, we are adding to the forex available.
“Any small amount we bring in reduces what we demand from the CBN. We have started the planting of trees; we are trying to do 500 hectares this year, next year and we continue in that direction,” he added.
Reviewing its performance earlier at the meeting, Presco Chairman, Pierre Vendebeeck, said turnover increased from N15.7billion in 2016 to N22.37billion in 2017, while profit after tax was N25.40billion “after accounting for charges in fair value of biological assets” from N21.7billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2016.
Vandebeeck said the company’s host communities development programme continued within the period under review.
Explaining further, Vandebeeck said: “Presco Plc sustained its good operating result yielding a good performance for the 2017 financial year. The firm achieved a total of Fresh Fruit Bunch (FFB) harvested of 169,352 tonnes in 2017, higher than 164,513 tonnes recorded in 2016, while crude palm produced rose from 35,555 tonnes to 37,637 tonnes.
He noted that the company kept its promise to focus on efficiencies across all value chain. “We have put our hand to plough and cannot go back. We achieved a record oil palm planting of 3,600Ha in 2017, and are focused to continue the increase in our oil palm plantation with the plan to plant an additional minimum 3,500 Ha in 2018.
“Works on the new refinery and fractionation plant, palm kernel crushing and increase in installed capacity of the palm oil mill are expected to near completion by the end of 2018,” he added.
Speaking on behalf of shareholders, Onitsha Zone Chairman, Bishop Goodluck Akpore, commended the board and management for remaining on the path of sustained growth and development despite prevailing economic challenges, and urged them to continue to consolidate on their performance and increase shareholders’ value through dividend payout.
Meanwhile, Edo state Governor, Godwin Obaseki at the pre-AGM cocktail of Presco oil Plc held on Tuesday said: “As government, we believe in creating enabling environment for business to thrive. We are committed to creating jobs for the state, and government cannot do it alone but with the support of the private sector.
“We committed to supporting the private sector to invest in the state. We are the preferred destination particularly because of the security which we are working to improve.”
He said the Government is working tirelessly to create a new security apparatus that would attract huge investment into the state and retain investors.
According to him, government has also rolled out incentives and more hectares of land for oil palm cultivation in the state. “We are creating additional 200,000 hectares of land for oil palm cultivation.
We have completed forest audit, unfortunately our forest has been highly depleted but our strategy is to make the degraded areas available for cultivation.”