Chams Plc’ll remain profitable –GMD

The management of Chams Plc, an indigenous ICT firm, on Tuesday said it expected the company to be more profitable after the closure of its loss-making unit, ChamsCity Digital Mall.

Chams Plc had recently announced the closure of the Ikeja ChamsCity digital mall, the last of four ChamsCity malls across the countries, due to lack of use of its digital citizen registration and mass enrollments infrastructure.

According to the company, other business process outsourcing services offered at the Guinness World Records-certified digital mall including computer-based testing will now be offered by ChamsCity from its new location on Victoria Island, Lagos.

News of the closure had led some to conclude that Chams Plc was closing shop, but the Group Managing Director designate, Chams Plc, Mr. Femi Williams, explained that what happened was that the group only took a business decision to close down one of its business units.

ChamsCity had been built in 2009 after Chams Plc signed concession agreement from the Federal Government to execute the country’s national identity project.

But the group said the project was frustrated by the leadership of the National Identity Management Commission, leading eventually to the termination of the concession, a decision the group is challenging in court.

The group had, while announcing the closure of the malls, said it lost N9.2bn on ChamsCity, ChamsSwitch and CardCentre.

Williams explained that the loss, incurred mainly in 2009 and 2010, was now behind the company, which had returned to profitability in 2012.

Assuring shareholders that the group would remain profitable, he said, “We are a publicly quoted company so our account is in the open. In 2009 and 2010, we made huge losses. Those were the years when those losses were passed out of our books. If you check our accounts, we are completely through the bad days.

“You would have seen from our annual report that we declared dividend last year. So, we’ve been back to profitability since 2012 and we are certain that we will continue with that feat this year and declare better dividend; that is what we assured our shareholders.”

He said although Chams Plc achieved top and bottom line growth in 2014, a review of the sectional performance of subsidiaries would reveal that ChamsCity did not contribute positively.

“If you look at it as a standalone-business, it is not profitable and has not been profitable for the last three years,” he said.

Moving ahead, Williams said Chams Plc was focusing more on products and solutions rather than contracts, having learnt from its experience with the national ID project.

“So, if you look at this year’s forecast, we tried to balance our portfolio – 50 per cent public sector, 50 per cent private sector. We’ve created products and solutions that are meant for the public sector and for the mass market,” he said.

One of such products, according to him, is ConfirmMe, a versatile verification platform launched some months back.

He said the company designed the platform after realising that most of the fraud done by Nigerians was because most people don’t have a simple way of properly and quickly verifying the identities of people they did business with.

Williams, who said Chams was one of the aggregators for biometric verification number, explained that, among other things, the data of universities were being uploaded on the ConfirmMe platform.

This, he said, would make it possible for organisations to, among other things, confirm the academic details of applicants and employees easily through the platform for only a small fee.

Williams, who will take over from the founding Group Managing Director, Chams Plc, Mr. Demola Aladekomo, later this month, gave the assurance that there the group would remain committed to its values and protecting the interests of the shareholders.

Having joined the group as a youth corps member and served in virtually all departments in the company, Williams stressed that he understood the company’s objectives and the industry, adding that he was confident that the company would achieve sustained growth going forward.

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Source : Punch

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