By NKIRUKA NNOROM
Ashaka Cement Plc has disclosed plans to pay 42kobo dividend to its shareholders for the year ended December 31, 2013.
This is contained in a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE.
According to the company, the dividend, which is subject to shareholders’ ratification at the next annual general meeting, will be paid to those whose names appear on the register of members as at June 27, 2014, while the register will be closed from June 28 to May 2nd, 2014 for the purpose of the payment.
The company had penultimate paid 40kobo as dividend, while promising better return in the coming years.
The chairman, Alhaji Umaru Kwairanga, had at a meeting with shareholder assured them of better return, saying that his optimism was hinged on the cost cutting measures the company was adopting.
He explained that Ashakacem would intensify efforts in the acceleration of projects that would improve costs and production volumes, adding that the company was set to fully participate and enjoy the benefits of deficit in the nation’s housing sector and a large percentage of unpaved road network present in the cement industry.
He stated that a key element of the company’s cost reduction effort was focused on increasing the substitution rate of local coal for expensive low pour fuel oil (LFPO) as fuel for firing of its kilns.
Kwairanga also assured that the company would tap from the experience of the parent company -Lafarge WAPCO – to improve its leading position in the Nigerian cement industry, saying that it is set to increase its market share from the current five percent.
“I want to assure investors that the board and management will work hard to deliver better returns on their investments. Our other stakeholders will equally benefit from the positive results of the strategies Ashaka Cement is putting in place.”
A peep into the first quarter unaudited financial statement for March 31, 2014 showed revenue growth of 7.74 percent to N6.505 billion from N6.038 billion in the same period of 2013.
The profit before tax for the period rose by 74 percent from N1.618 billion to N2.816 billion, while profit after jumped to N1.919 billion as against N1.133 billion in the corresponding period in 2013.
The basic earnings per share rose to 86 kobo from 51 kobo in 2013, representing 68.6 percent improvement.