By PETER EGWUATU
The Board of Conoil Plc has announced a profit of N4.4 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2011, just as it recommended payment of N1.73 billion to shareholders as cash dividends for the period under review.
The dividend recommendation was contained in the audited report and accounts of Conoil Plc for the year ended December 31, 2011 released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The gross dividend recommendation implies increase in dividend per share from N2 for 2010 business year to N2.50 for the 2011 business year.
The 25 per cent increase in cash payouts was reflective of the impressive performance of the company during the year as net earnings per share rose from N4.02 in 2010 to N4.25 in 2011.
With these, Conoil has emerged as the best-return stock in the petroleum marketing sector with current dividend yield of about 12 per cent and earnings yield of about 20 per cent. These also placed the stock within the top-bracket of dividend paying stocks on the NSE.
The report showed that the company grew sales by 53 per cent from N102.88 billion in 2010 to N157.51 billion in 2011. It further consolidated its profitability with profit before tax rising from N4.02 billion to N4.4 billion. Profit after tax rose from N2.79 billion to N2.95 billion.
The report also showed a stronger balance sheet as retained earnings boosted shareholders’ funds to N16.82 billion in 2011 compared with N15.26 billion in 2010. Total assets rose by 49 per cent to N61.84 billion in 2011 as against N41.49 billion in 2010.
Market analysts said the impressive dividend and profit and loss accounts performance were in line with market’s expectations given Conoil’s consistent growth over the years.
As earnings per share increased from N2.62 in 2008 to N3.33 and N4.02 in 2009 and 2010 respectively, Conoil had increased cash dividend per share correspondingly from N1 in 2009 to N1.50 and N2 in 2009 and 2010 respectively.
In his comments on the results, Chairman, Conoil Plc, Dr. Mike Adenuga (Jnr), said the results were indicative of the commitment of the Board and Management to growing shareholders’ value irrespective of the operating challenges.
He pointed out that the company launched far-reaching initiatives to strengthen its income base in core segments of its business particularly in retail, lubricants, aviation, gas and specialized products. “We shall continually strive to take advantage of emerging opportunities to repay the faith and confidence that our loyal shareholders have shown in us,” Adenuga assured.