By Franklin Alli
The Board of Director of Costain(West Africa) PLC,Â has raised its shareholdersâ€™ hope for dividend payment during their 62nd annual general meeting next year.
It â€˜ll be recalled thatÂ the construction firm has notÂ declared a dividend for ten years, a situation which the companyâ€™s Finance Director, Mr. Harm Ploeger, blamed on bad debts and heavy lossesÂ recorded by the companyÂ during the periods under review.
Nevertheless, the Finance Director told journalists in Lagos, Friday, that the Board is set to deliver returns to shareholders, hinging optisim on new contracts the company secured recently top of which was the N12 billion Jebba-Kano rail line contracted secured from theÂ Nigerian Railway Corporation, which, he believes would go a long way to improve the fortunes of the company and be able to deliver returns to shareholders.
Stock analysts sayÂ market might soon react to the N12 billionÂ railway contract by jerking up the companyâ€™s share price currrently peaking at N7.33 kobo per share on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
â€œThe Board hasÂ started discussing how toÂ compensate shareholdersÂ during next yearâ€™s financial year ended(FYE) March 31, 2010,â€ Ploeger said.
He affirmed that despite the losses of prevuious years , the company isÂ now on the march to achievingÂ better results in the next year stating: â€˜We expect higher profitability on our cureent projects and possible recovery of some of the debts.â€
According to Managing Director/CEO, Ayodeji Karim, descirbed theÂ Jebba-Kano rail rehabilitation project as one of the biggest contract the company has secured recently.
other new contracts the companyâ€™s alsomworking on includesÂ the constructionof the Nigerian Stock Exchange building in Port Harcourt,Â construction of a multi-storey block for Cityscape in Rainbow City , also in Port Harcourt, including expansion of residential buildingÂ for the Watch Tower Branch Office, Igieduma, Edo State, as well as Watari Water Treatment Plant in Kano State, among others.
Fielding questions on update on the rail line project, Mark Stephens, Operations Director,Â stated: â€œWeâ€™ll complete work on the project December 25.Â he said that in order to meet the targeted date they have split works into six section and have deployed their team of dedicated Engineers, and cutting -edge technologies to sites.