Shareholders of Lafarge endorse firm’s N3 dividend, one for 10 bonus issue
The shareholders who spoke during the 57th yearly general meeting of the company, held in Lagos on Monday, urged the company to improve on its logistics and embark on aggressive marketing in order to outwit competition and boost profitability.
Specifically, the President of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity, Timothy Adesiyan commended the board of management on the 50 per cent acquisition of Unicem, describing it as a good investment.
He noted that the acquisition would boost the company’s profitability in the current financial year if the proceeds were well deployed.He also added that the company’s ReadyMix product solution can boost the revenue if the product would be made more visible within the country.
“ReadyMix Nigeria continued its strong growth with a 29.3 per cent growth in its turnover over prior year. Expansion in the sector will increase profitability for the group,” he said.
Also speaking, the National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie also charged the company to ensure that the product is made available all over the country.
He stressed the need for the company to improve on its logistics and expansion exercise to increase its footprint within the country.“Since after our consolidation, our cement is not visible. We want our product to be available. You have to extend your business activities all over the country. I commend you for Unicem and we will give you maximum support to remain relevant in business,” he added.
Responding, the Chairman of the company, Mobolaji Balogun, noted that 2015 was transformational and the first full operational year of the new enlarged company.
“We have now built a significant platform to drive value creation for all stakeholders and in particular, our shareholders.”Commenting on the company’s future outlook, Balogun foresaw growth opportunities in 2016 and beyond for the building material sector.
“The 2016 federal government budget indicates a significant increase in the spending on infrastructure and capital projects. The Government recognizes the urgent need to re-invest in Nigerian infrastructure to catalyse much needed growth.
“With the on-going 2.5mt expansion project in Calabar, which is expected to be commissioned before year end, and plans for Ashaka, our cement production capacity in Nigeria is on the increase” he stated.
The chairman stated that the company continued to build on the successful completion of the Lafarge Africa asset consolidation through some strategic initiatives, including increasing its shareholding in Ashakacem to 82.46 per cent via a Mandatory Tender Offer and acquisition of further stake in Unicem.
He urged the shareholders to support the on-going Ashakacem Voluntary Tender Offer, which according to him, provides opportunity for the minorities to participate in a much larger growth platform, which Lafarge Africa represents.
Also, the Group Managing Director, Michel Puchercos stated that; “The Nigerian operations of Lafarge Africa having been successfully unified and rationalized under one management team, is cognizant of the different stakeholders expectations and promise to drive efficiencies that will ultimately generate remarkable synergy savings for overall improved performance.
Puchercos added that the overall new strategies in penetrating retail, geographies and the technical segment are expected to push Lafarge Africa’s volumes to grow above a flat market in its three product lines.