By Nkiruka Nnorom
THE chairman of Nestle Nigeria Plc, Mr.David Ifezulike, has enjoined the shareholders of the company to complement the effort of Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, to reduce the quantum of unclaimed dividend in the nation’s capital market by enrolling in the on-going e-dividend.
Speaking at the company’s 48th Annual General Meeting, AGM, in Lagos, Ifezulike called on the shareholders to open account with the Central Securities Clearing System, CSCS, for the e-dividend, e-bonus and dematrialisation of their share certificates.
Highlighting the benefits of the e-dividend registration, he said that once the registration is successfully completed, all outstanding dividends would be credited to the designated bank account of the shareholder. “We appeal to you to support our effort and that of SEC to reduce the magnitude of unclaimed dividends b y subscribing to the e-Dividend Mandate Management System, EDMMS. Your participation in EDMMS will eliminate the delay or loss of dividend warrants,” he said.
Reviewing the company’s result, he said that Nestle has remained a leader in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods, FMCG, sector by staying focused on its commitment to provide good quality nutrition solution to its consumers.
He noted that the 20 per cent increase in sales recorded by the company during the year is a confirmation that the brand has continued to enjoy strong patronage from consumers in spite of the inflationary pressures, weak purchasing power and the challenging operating environment.
Reviewing the financial performance for the period, Ifezulike said: “Despite the weak consumer sentiment occasioned by rising inflation and cash crunch, our revenue increased by 20 per cent. Notwithstanding the increase in the cost of sales due to higher material costs as a result of currency devaluation, operating profit increased by 13 per cent.”
Shareholders at the meeting approved the N7.93 billion, amounting to N10.00 per share dividend earlier recommended by the Board of Directors for the year ended December 31, 2016.
They, however, urged the company to also consider issuing bonus shares and further increasing the dividend in the coming year.
Speaking on behalf of the other shareholders, Sir Sunny Nwosu, said: “We appreciate the Board and management of the company for the dividend they gave to us .But we want better dividend and bonus. I welcome the new Managing Director and we want the bonus to come during your tenure”.
In his comment, another shareholder, Pastor Williams Oyebajo, urged the company to look at ways of cleaning its books by undertaking a Rights Issues.
“I will suggest that we look into the ways of cleaning our books. A lot of companies on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, also cleaned their books by way of Rights Issues and used the proceeds to clean up their books. I want to suggest that we commence rights issue to clean ours books,” he said.