UPDC to pay N859m dividend

UACN Property Development Company Plc has received the approval of its shareholders to pay N859.4m as dividend to its shareholders for the 2014 financial year.

The shareholders approved the dividend, which translates into 50 kobo per share, at the company’s Annual General Meeting in Lagos.

UPDC had declared the dividend after growing its revenue to N10.08bn in 2014 from N9.33bn a year earlier. The company’s pre-tax profit had declined, however, from N4.38bn to N2.04bn, a development it attributed to the challenges in the industry.

The Chairman, UPDC, Mr. Larry Ettah, told shareholders at the AGM that despite the challenges in the industry, the company was confident of creating greater value for them, a statement from the company said.

This, according to him, is because the company is implementing new strategies to enable it take advantage of emerging opportunities in the industry.

He told the shareholders that the operating environment was fraught with challenges such as the high cost of funding, title uncertainties and inadequate mortgage financing as well as the dearth of infrastructure.

All of these, he said, had led to low demand in the low and medium residential market segments.

He, however, said the Nigerian property market remained attractive as there were great opportunities in the residential segment, hospitality, commercial and industrial segments of the market.

Ettah said, “The real estate market is gradually rebounding and has experienced reasonable growth and performance in the last few years.

“This performance is largely driven by the re-emergence of the Nigerian middle-class and the increasing demand for decent residential and commercial accommodation by high net-worth individuals, corporate organisations and key players in the retail segment of the economy.”

On the company’s plans for the future, he said, “Our strategy for 2015 and beyond include deleveraging the business through equity capital injection, disposal of the surplus stake currently held in UPDC REIT (21.5 per cent) to generate liquidity and re-creating our products portfolio to include more commercial and retail offerings which have proven to be more resilient revenue sources in periods of depression.”

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