Shareholders approve Dangote Cement’s N102bn dividend

Dangote Cement Plc has received the approval of the company’s shareholders to pay N102bn as dividend for the 2014 financial year.

The shareholders endorsed the dividend payment on Tuesday at the Dangote Cement’s sixth Annual General Meeting, which was held in Lagos.

The company’s Board of Directors had proposed the dividend payment, which represented N6 per share and a payout ratio of 63.5 per cent after improving its performance in the 2014 financial year.

For instance, it grew its revenue from N386bn in 2013 to N392bn in 2014. According to the company, the dividend will be paid on Thursday to shareholders whose names appear in the register at the close of business on April 17.

In approving the dividend payment, the shareholders hailed the company for achieving growth despite the challenging environment in which it operated. They also expressed satisfaction at the payment of the dividend.

The President, Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Dr. Farouk Umar, commended the board and management of the company for the steps they had taken to ensure the sustained growth of the company.

Umar, who was one of the shareholders that spoke at the event, praised the company for remaining committed to the shareholders and for the dividend payment.

In his statement at the event, the Chairman, Dangote Cement, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, described 2014 as a year in which the company achieved significant progress in its goal to become a truly pan-African manufacturer and distributor of cement.

The company is currently executing a massive expansion project in 16 African countries, involving huge investments.

Dangote told shareholders that, “As a result of the sizeable investment that we have made over the past few years, Dangote Cement ended the year (2014) with new lines in Nigeria, factories becoming operational in Senegal and South Africa, with other plants in Cameroon and Zambia preparing for production in early 2015.”

He noted that the company’s capacity had increased from just under 21 million tonnes in January (2014) to more than 34 million tonnes at the end of the year.

The Dangote Cement chairman, however, explained to the shareholders that the company faced strong macroeconomic headwinds during the year with falling oil prices, devaluation of the naira and a slowdown in the GDP growth all combining to subdue construction activities.

He said the development had affected sales across the company’s operations and that although group revenues rose by 1.4 per cent, pre-tax profit was 3.2 per cent lower (year-on-year) at N184.7bn.

Dangote, however, remained very optimistic about the company’s future, which analysts said was very bright, especially with regards to returns for investors.

Stressing that the challenges the company faced in the year were largely beyond its control, he said, “I am happy that we achieved many milestones across Africa and made the important transition from building cement plants to making cement. We are well on our way to becoming a global and respected cement producer, operating in some of the most exciting markets in the world.”

The company had disclosed ahead of the AGM that its new plants in Senegal and Cameroun had commenced operations with the plants in Ethiopia and Zambia expected to start production next month.

On the expansion project, an Executive Director in the company, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, said, “The success of our expansion is evidence that we are delivering on our strategy to become a much larger, more international company.

“Despite the challenging conditions of the erratic fuel supply and prolonged rainy season that affected revenues and profitability in Nigeria, the fact that we have increased our dividend payout ratio is a clear sign of confidence in our future.”

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Source : Punch

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