By NKIRUKA NNOROM
FIDSON Healthcare Plc led last week on the league of top 10 performing stocks, rising by 13.67 per cent or N0.41 to close at N3.41 from N3.00 per share. Dangote Sugar Refinery followed with 8.29 per cent or N0.53 appreciation, closing at N6.92 from N6.39; Continental Reinsurance placed third, rising by 5.26 per cent or N0.05 to close at N1.00 from N0.95 per share.
Ikeja Hotesl Plc was the next as it advanced by 4.07 per cent or N0.14 to close at N3.58 from N3.44; Ecobank Transnational Incorporated’s shares rose by 2.76 per cent or N0.50 to close at N18.60 from N18.10; Beta Glass Company plc went up by 2.33 per cent or N1.05 to close at N46.20 from N45.15; Wema Bank advanced by 2.11 per cent or N0.02 to close at N0.97 from N0.95; Red Star Express appreciated by 1.18 per cent or N0.05 to close at n4.30 from N4.25; Union Bank of Nigeria Plc gained 0.87 or N0.05 to close at n5.80 from N5.75, while Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc advanced by 0.76 per cent or N0.16 to close at N21.16 from N21.00 per share.
Fidson, which led the pack, recently disclosed plans to grow its product portfolio by construction of N7.5 billion biotech plant in Nigeria. According to the company, the facility which is built to conform to the World Health Organization (Geneva) current Good Manufacturing Practice (WHO-GMP) standards, would double the company’s production capacity and will also for the first time, add intravenous fluids to Fidson’s product portfolio. The company recently released its results for nine month period ending 30th September 2015, which showed 18 per cent decline in revenue from N7.5 billion to N6.2 billion in the same period in 2014. The results further showed a 14 per cent reduction in cost of sales to N2.9 billion from N3.4 billion. Consequently, profit before tax increased two per cent to N696.3 million from N685.8 million, while profit after tax rose to N473.5 million from N466.4 million, also indicating two per cent increase. Basic earnings per share increased two per cent to N32 from N31 in the same period in 2014. The biotech plant, which is nearing completion, is expected to impact the company’s earnings in 2016.
Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR), which closed as the second on the list, seems to have started recording reversal in its financials as indicated in the nine month unaudited statement released last week. Arm Research had placed the shares on sell following poor financial performance recorded in the year ended December 31, 2014. However, the company recorded marginal improvement in top-line and bottom-line with the post-tax profits rising by 1.3 per cent year-on year-to N9.34 billion from N9.14 billion in the previous year despite two percent increase in tax expense. The company also reported group revenue of N73 billion for the period representing a 1 per cent year-on year-growth. Also, the basic earnings per share rose to 115 kobo from 114 kobo, representing 1.3 per cent increase. Explaining the improvement experienced so far, the company said: “After a good pick up in the second quarter, we struggled to sustain the pace of improvement in the third quarter as we continued to face challenges getting our sugar out of the Apapa area to our customers, which constrained our overall operations in the quarter.
“We have begun to explore alternate means of product evacuation including the rail and additional warehouses to fulfill the growing demand of our sugar in the Northern parts.” The share price has been fluctuating, but rose steadily in the last three trading days to settle at the current market price. The share has recorded 52 wk high of N8.26.
As it is customary with insurance companies quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to renege on the post-listing rules obligations of timely submission of yearly and quarterly financial statements, Continental Reinsurance is among insurers penciled as operating below the NSE requirement. Owing to this, the company was fined N900, 000 for late filing of its 2013 full year financial reports. Its financial statement for period, which was later made public, indicated a mixed performance. While its revenue rose for the period, the underwriting profit declined. The company recorded gross earnings of N16.15 billion as against N15.04 billion in 2013.
The underwriting profit fell to N1.3 billion in 2014 from N1.68 billion in 2013, while the profit after tax declined by 51.1 per cent to N856 million from N1.75 billion in the corresponding period in 2013.