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Lafarge Africa holds AGM in Lagos as Board approves N13bn dividend payout
The board of leading cement solutions provider, Lafarge Africa Plc, on Wednesday at its Annual General Meeting, approved a dividend payout N1.50 per share to its shareholders.
The approved dividend represents a 45 kobo increase per share on the 2016 dividend and is payable net of applicable taxes.
In his remarks, the Chairman, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun said the dividend payout is in appreciation of the support shown by the shareholders so far and a worthy return on their investments.
He said “The Board of Directors is mindful of the support of all our shareholders through the difficult but necessary journey to transform the company into a more agile and correctly financed business ready to benefit from the potential opportunities in Nigerian building materials (market)”.
He also assured shareholders that restructuring of the capital structure of the company largely completed through the past year would help to significantly reduce the cost of financing and currency translation risk.
Continuing, Balogun added that the company’s recent N131.6 billion Rights Issue, the largest ever Rights Issue in Nigeria which was also fully subscribed, has helped to significantly reduce the FX debt exposure by 50% and the Board of Directors is already reviewing options to deal with the remaining FX debt.
He revealed that the company is implementing a new route-to-market initiative aimed at supporting the anticipated growth in demand as the country gradually recovers from recession and as foreign exchange rates stabilise.
In his comments, the Country Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, Mr. Michel Puchercos expressed optimism about the performance of Lafarge Africa Plc during the current year. He pointed out that the Q1 results for 2018 show stability in the market and operations which have kept revenues steady in the past quarter.
He recalled that “Improvement plans in Nigeria delivered strong operational performance while turnaround actions will be consolidated further in 2018 through energy optimization as well as commercial and logistic improvement”.
Puchercos further expressed optimism that favourable pricing in Nigeria coupled with gains from logistic and commercial initiatives will sustain market share, saying “The target is to significantly build EBITDA margins”.
“The South Africa economy is expected to grow in 2018 which should impact on our South Africa operations. Our turnaround plan in South Africa which is focused on cost containment, commercial transformation and industrial stabilization is expected to return our SA business to profitability,” Puchercos, Lafarge Africa chief executive averred.