Shareholders of Benue Cement Company (BCC) Plc, yesterday, unanimously endorsed the N3.9 billion dividends declared by its Board of Directors for the financial year ended December 31, 2009.
The shareholders at the 30th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Kano commended the Board and management for the impressive results which was attributed to the turnaround carried out by the new management of the company.
The company which had not declared dividend for some years back paid a total dividend of N2.00 per share with an interim dividend of N1.00 earlier paid for the financial year under consideration.
Speaking at the AGM, the National Chairman of Consolidated Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Barrister Raymond Anyiwo said, â€œ BCC is an investorsâ€™ toast as the price of the stock currently stood at N66 per share. We are happy with the turnaround being put in place. We got interim dividend of N1.00 per share and now we are getting another N1.00 per share. This is quite commendable for a company that has not paid dividend for quite some year.
It is a goose that lay the golden egg. Shareholders should take the advantage of the dividend yield to invest in the company. We are glad with the performance. We should note that some years back the performance was dwindling but soon Alhaji Aliko Dangote came on Board, we started seeing growth. He has a medal tough, whatever he touches starts yielding fruits and we must commend him for that.â€
Mr. Peter Owolabi, another shareholder joined other of his colleagues to commend the performance of the company and urged it to seek further expansion that will result to higher return on investment.
â€œ I am really impressed by the result we have endorsed today. It is kudos to the company for clearing all the loans and overdraft obtained from the banks and still pay us dividend.Â However, efforts should be made by the company and Registrar to ensure unclaimed dividend is reduced significantlyâ€ he added.
Mrs. Esther Funke Augustine joined in congratulating the company for its impressive results, saying â€œThe management should strive to reduce the amount owed by debtors. Also the number of meetings held by various committees should be clearly stated in the annual reports.â€™
Responding, the Chairman of BCC, Alhaji Aliko Dangote commended the shareholders for their understanding and support to the company.
According to him, â€œWe will ensure that we improve our performance so that shareholders will get higher returns on their investment. We will strive to collect out money our debtors so that by next financial year we will be able to clean our books. We should note that despite deterioration in energy supplies (fuel and electricity power) in the country during 2009, we were able to improve cement production dispatches significantly.
Cement dispatches in 2009 were N1,370,000 metric tones; approximately 109 per cent above volume achieved in 2008. As a result turnover grew by 112 per cent on 2008 together with an impressive improvement in operating margin to 46 per cent; up from 35 per cent achieved in 2008.. However, our turnover growth was driven by volume and not price. Our cement price is 12 lower than thatÂ of LafargeÂ cement.â€
Other performance indicators of the company during the year under reviewÂ showed aÂ profit after taxation of N14.372 billion as against N4.144 billion in 2008; Shareholdersâ€™ funds of N24.208 billion as against N13.751 billion in 2008; Earnings Per Share (EPS)ofÂ N367 as against N132.