‘How Julius Berger, others ensured prompt delivery of Abuja Airport project’
The Management of Julius Berger (JB) Plc, yesterday described the company’s delivery of Abuja Airport Emergency Repair Project in a record time as a demonstration of the firm’s leadership in Nigeria’s engineering construction company.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Heinz Stockhausen, an engineer, disclosed this at Investors Relations Forum held in Lagos to herald the company’s Yearly General Meeting.
Describing the project as tasking because of its importance both locally and international, Stockhausen said it brought out the firm’s ingenuity in engineering as workers were mobilized from Nigeria and over seas to ensure early delivery of the project.
He extolled the Federal Government, especially the Ministry of Transportation, and other stakeholders like Nigeria Aviation Management Authority (NAMA), Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for their commitment towards early completion of the six-week project.
Stockhausen, who put Julius Berger’s active contract portfolio at N310 billion also praised the authority for its commitment in debt recovery project, to reduce the N600 billion debt portfolio of construction companies in Nigeria.
He described the policy as a welcome development especially when government is planning to pay the debt with interest, saying it will help in financing of construction works.
The Julius Berger boss also said the return to the payment of debt with bonds as it was done in 2011 will affect the balance sheet of many construction companies positive especially if 2011 modality could be used.
While thanking the shareholders for their support, Stockhausen, stressed that the company will not be paying dividends for 2016 financial year due to the company loss after tax.
A payment of dividend, he said would force the company to seek over draft from banks with high interest charges.
He described 2016 as a very challenging year in the country because of the extreme high cost of doing business, saying despite government effort to reduce the interest rate, it is still high.
“Unfortunately, despite CBN several intervention, multiple exchange rates have continue to exist and it is still unclear whether the intervention is still sustainable.
With a forecast of positive growth, the reality is that the country is still in recession but we will continue to pray for a complete turn around.
“The company is ready to support efforts towards that regard”, he said.
He pointed that the federal budget, which was still not passed even as of yesterday, was a demonstration of complexity and show how things are.
According to him, the success of the four years blue print recently released by the federal government required political will and commitment to being it into fruition as the cost of doing business is still challenging despite all the efforts in strengthen the Naira
The MD, however stressed that the company will continue to become a strong partner in all political zones and is currently handling some notable projects, which include the Lagos-Dangote Jetty Apapa and Azura-Edo Independent Power Project in Edo, the first independent power plant funded by investors from England.
Other top national priority projects, he said, include the Lagos-Sagamu Expressway, national Institute of Legislative Studies, Abuja, Airport Expressway Abuja and the recently awarded 2nd Niger River Bridge project.