By Peter Egwuatu
Shareholders of quoted companies, yesterday, advocated for backward integration process to be imbibed by the manufacturing companies in order to overcome the current scarcity of foreign exchange, forex in the country .
The shareholders, who spoke to Vangaurd during the Fidson Healthcare Plc’s Annual General Meeting, AGM said “ Given the current scarcity and high cost of getting dollar from the financial sector, the manufacturing companies in Nigeria should begin to look inward to source for their raw materials in order to overcome the forex challenges.
They further called on companies to spend more on Research and Development, R&D as a way of developing local content as the country cannot continue to rely on import to meet consumers’ needs.
Fidson turnover for the year ended December 31, 2015 was N8.210 billion, representing a decline of 15.5 per cent when compared with N9.719 billion in 2014; gross profit stood at N4.351 billion compared with N5.433 billion in 2014. Notwithstanding the drop in gross profit and turnover, the profit for the year under review grew by six per cent from N1.431 billion to N1.516 billion.
Speaking at the Fidson’s AGM, Sir Sunny Nwosu, founder of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN said, “ Fidson and other manufacturing companies in the country should begin to produce items with local contents so that they can rely less on the imported raw materials and save cost and make more profit.”
According to him, “ The operating environment challenges should make them more proactive to do things that can keep the companies moving as there are room for improvement even in the time of recession. Cost cutting measures, increased R&D and other management strategies should be applied.”
In the same manner, other shareholders such as Mr. Nonah Awoh, Mr. William Adebayo, Chief Robbert Igwe , etc collaborated the views of Sir Nwosu, saying, “ We expect Fidson to do better next year in terms of dividend payout, We were paid 5 kobo this year due to the recession period we are. Though, the company made higher profit this year than last year that we got 15 kobo per share, so we thought they could have given us bonus issue, but come next year we expect higher dividend”.
Meanwhile, addressing shareholders at the meeting, Fidson’s chairman, Mr. Felix Ohiwerei said” The condition under which we commenced the year under review forced many companies to operate with caution. Though the industrial unrest that characterised the year before abated reasonably the industry reimagined grossly under funded.
The cost of medicine and treatment remained high. No thanks to the implementation of Common External Tariff( CET) which placed a higher tariff on the importation of raw and packaging materials than on finished goods.”
Looking forward, he said” I commend the shareholders for their invaluable contributions as we promised to look into some of the issues raised. With the improved operating facility and continued prudent management of resources, the Board and Management are optimistic that the company will continue to be profitable.