By Peter Egwuatu
Against the backdrop of the economic recession in the country, Afprint Nigeria Plc has commenced the process of delisting its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), just as it promised to pay off its shareholders.
The Group Deputy Managing Director, Afprint Nigeria Plc, Mr.Victor O. Eburajolo disclosed this to few capital market reporters in Lagos on Monday, saying the economy has not been favourable to the operation ofÂ textile manafacturing companies in Nigeria.
According to him, â€œ We have commenced the process of delisting our shares on the Exchange as the economy has affected our operation.
To be frank, it was the shareholders themselves that had at one time suggested to us to delist our shares on the NSE since we have not been paying dividend or bonus for the past five years and yet we keep paying the statutory fee to the Exchange. When we carefully look at the issue and found that what theyÂ saidÂ was true the baord has to take the decision to delist.â€
Continuing, he said, â€œ We have written to the NSE informing it of plans to delist our shares andÂ has gone to the Federal High court in Lagos to seek approval.Â In a suit No: FHC/L/CS/1219/2009,Â the court has ordered us to convene an Extra Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) toÂ hold not later than 28th December, 2009 to seek the approval from shareholders and that itÂ must be communicated in at least two news papers which must include Punch and Guardian.â€
â€œ We are thinking that this date might not be comfortable with our shareholders and we intend to reach them to know if the date would be confortable for them. But all things being equal we intent to complete the exercise on or before the end ofÂ January 2010.
We are going to reward the shareholders , at leastÂ to pay them higher price than what is obtained in the daily official list ofÂ the Exchange.
All the shareholders that wants to get out from the company would be paid off,Â while those who want to remain with the company as a public liability company would remain and we will sit down with them and decide what next to do.â€
Commenting on the harsh operating environment,Â he said , â€œ The operating environment has affected the operations of the textiles millsÂ and mannufacturing companies in general as most of them have close shops while some had gone to operate in the neighbouring West African countries.
There is no infrastrcuture whether financial or physical put in place to encourage the manufacturing industries that employs over 50,000 workers.
â€œ Our problem started with the abrogation of commodity board. Since that period theÂ primary products produced within the countryÂ became under valued and the quality gradually coming down. In fact, we donâ€™t have any reputable agency supervising the agricultural produce and this has discouraged farmers.â€
To that extent, Eburajolo advised that government must have aÂ reasonable policy in place toÂ encourage the manufactring industries.
According to him, â€œ No nation can prosper and grow wthoutÂ the real sector. Nigeria cannot continue to buy and sell. We must develop the real sector to be able to grow our economy.
How can the manufacturers survive when there is high interest rate up to 24 per cent and above, no infrastructure like good roads, railway system etc. All theseÂ things must be put in place to encourage the real sector.
Manufacturing Association of Nigeria (MAN) has presented their problems to the government yet nothing has been done How can the manufaturing companies compete effectively with the advance economies? He queried.â€