BY NKIRUKA NNOROM

Union Dicon Salt Plc, International Breweries Plc, Lafarge WAPCO Plc, University Press Plc, Cadbury Nig. Plc and N.E.M Insurance Co. (Nig.) Plc were among the stocks that garnered enough investors’ patronage last week to emerge on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE’s top gainers. The rest were Associated Bus Company Plc, ABC, Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc, Airline Services & Logistics Plc, ASL, and Mansard Insurance Plc.

Union Dicon Salt, UDS, led the top performers with 40.12 percent or N2.74 price appreciation to close the week at N9.57 from N6.88. Since the news of take-over of majority interest by CBO Capital Partners in the company hit the market a month ago, it has remained the investors’ toast, featuring consistently on the top gainers list.

By the take-over, CBO Capital, one of the leading investment and project development firms based in Lagos, has been saddled with the responsibility of turning the company’s fortune around. The turnaround programme, according to UDS’s management, is being finalised, while the implementation is due to commence in the first quarter of 2014.

The company is currently concluding a variety of strategic options, for a 2014 capital expenditure, Capex, requirement of N4 billion that will soon be announced. Year-to-date, the share price has risen by 126.78 percent from N4.22 at the beginning of the year to the present market price.

International Breweries Plc’s share price rose by 12.56 percent or N3.00 from N23.88 at the beginning of the week to N26.88. Only about two weeks ago, the Osun State government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the company in order to increase its production chain.

As part of the agreement, the company will invest $40 million to build another factory that would increase the production of the breweries. According to the MoU, the state government will be responsible for the acquisition of land and payment of compensations to the original owners.

Though International Breweries has for a long time been bogged down by streak of losses in its finances, the six months financial statement for September, 2013 indicated that it may have started to breathe fresh air. The company, though, still has to deal with rising cost.  The revenue for the period rose by 39.49 percent to N8.628 billion from the previous N6.185 billion.

Cost of sales rose by almost the same margin, growing to N4.36 billion from N3.23 billion in 2012, thus representing 35.2 percent increase. Post tax profit saw 20.91 percent growth from N900.58 million in 2012 to N1.089 billion.

Lafarge WAPCo advanced by 5.97 percent or N7.25 to close at N111.20 from N103.95. Three months ago, Lafarge signed a $225 million (N45 billion) syndicated underwritten multi currency medium term facility with some Nigerian banks to expand its Ewekoro Plant (the Lakatabu Expansion Project).

Lafarge WAPCO’s two production sites, the Ewekoro and Sagamu plants, currently have combined capacity of two million metric tons of cement per annum. The unaudited financial statement for the period ended 30th September, 2013 showed a marginal increase of six percent in revenue, as it rose to N74.278 billion from N69.844 billion in the same period of 2012.

Profit after tax also rose by 89 percent to N20.45 billion from N10.85 billion in 2012, while the cost of sales remained unchanged at N45.092 billion.

University Press recorded 6.97 percent or N7.25 price appreciation to close at N4.07 from N3.82. Listed in the printing/publishing sub-sector of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, University Press to-date is the most highly priced stock in the printing sub-sector. Available financial statement of the company for the half-year ended 30th June, 2013, showed that revenue rose to N197.465 million as against N177.682 million in corresponding period of 2012.

Gross profit stood at N103.56 million compared to N95.59 million in 2012. This was, however, wiped off by increasing marketing & distribution expenses, as well as administrative expenses, which left the company with loss before tax of N64.292 million. Cadbury Nig. Plc recorded 5.94 percent or N3.70 price appreciation to close at N66.00 from N62.30; NEM Insurance went up by 5.26 percent or N0.03 to close at N0.60 from N0.57; ABC Transport advanced by 5.13 percent or N0.04 from N0.78 to N0.82; Custodian and Allied Insurance rose by five percent or N0.10 from N2.00 to N2.10; Airline Services & Logistics added 4.99 percent or N0.18 to its share price to close at N3.79 from N3.61, while Mansard Insurance advanced by 4.98 percent or N0.12 from N2.14 to N2.53 per share.

 

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