By PETER EGWUATU
Shareholders under the aegis of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) have expressed dissatisfaction over nonpayment of dividend by First Aluminum Nigeria Plc.
According to Mr. Boniface Okezie, Chairman of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), who spoke on behalf of its members to newsmen in Lagos, “First Aluminum has not paid dividend in the past 10 years. Despite putting more funds in the company via a right issue, shareholders are yet to reap any return from their investment.”
Continuing, he said, “It is disheartening to note that First Aluminum has not treated shareholders the way it should. The company has been making profit but the directors do not pass on part of the profit as dividends to shareholders. They receive their sitting allowances and others but leave other shareholders without anything.”
Okezie said the company’s products are in high demand, wondering why the management is not maximising the high demand to deliver good performance and reward investors.
“Attempts by shareholders to suggest ways how the company can grow are always been thwarted by the fact the company take its annual general meetings to areas where most of the shareholders cannot get to. This is bad and it is high time the management sit up to its responsibility,” he said.
It would be recalled that First Aluminum Nigeria Plc recently reported a 48 per cent decline in its profit for the year ended December 31, 2011.
The company’s profit before tax stood at N324 million in 2011 as against N629 million the previous year.
Addressing stockbrokers recently, the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Ben Elfrink, attributed the profit decline to the operating cost, exchange rates and duty tariffs.
According to him, the increasing rate of importation into the country had affected the business severely, adding that it was important for Nigerians to patronise locally manufactured products. He explained that currently, 85 per cent of all imported goods are substandard.
“Patronising Nigerian made products is better than buying imported products that are most of the time substandard.