By Peter Egwuatu
Shareholders of Presco Plc, on Wednesday, endorsed the completion of the Company’s 350 tons per day palm kernel crushing plant as well as the declaration of N2 billion dividend for the financial year ended December 31, 2019 despite various economic challenges.
The shareholders at the Company’s 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held by proxy on Wednesday at Obaretin Estate, Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area, Edo State, commended the payment of N2 billion dividend , which translated to 200 kobo per share.
With about 8,000 staff strength, Presco’s range of products include: special palm oil, palm kernel oil, refined bleached and deodorant palm oil, Olein, Stearin, Palm Fatty Acid Distillate and Palm Kernel Cake.
Speaking on behalf of shareholders, Bishop Goodluck Akpore, commended efforts by the board and management of Presco to boosts the Company’s operations.
He said : “ Shareholders were particularly impressed with the Company’s resolve to pay dividend and sustain growth agenda.”
Earlier in his address to shareholders, Chairman of the Company, Pierre Vandebeeck explained that COVID-19 virus has had significant impact on global economies around the world, adding that “It is having accounting implications for many entities.”
He also disclosed that within the year under review, the construction of a new 350 tons per day palm kernel crushing plant was completed “and so also was the construction of a new 30 tons palm kernel boiler”.
According to him, construction work on the extension of the of palm oil mill from 60 tons Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB) per hour to 90 tons was completed in January 2020.
Meanwhile, the Chairman said work on the new 500 tons per day vegetable oil refinery has been completed with its commissioning scheduled for this year.
Explaining further, Vandebeeck who was represented by a Director of the company, Osa Osunde said: “Our Company is not difference, which is why we have put in place protective measures in keeping with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines to minimize the risk to our workforce and ensure minimum disruptions to operations”.
Making reference to the industry, the Chairman said: “Following the moves initiated by the Federal Government to check and fight the illegal importation and malpractices, 4th quarter 2019 witnessed a gradual recovery of average unit selling prices of crude and refined products from the hitherto downward pressure.
“As the year drew to a close, there was the emergence of the twin shocks of COVID-19 pandemic and global oil price crash that are of significant far reaching consequences for the national economy and businesses.
“COVID-19 in particular brought with it challenges to our lifestyle, culture, social interactions, among others. Without a doubt, the global, national and local business environment will likely become even unpredictable in the next months.”
Within the year under review, Vandebeeck informed shareholders that Presco atained N19.72billion, representing 7.6 per cent reduction on N21.34billion of 2018.
Vandebeeck said: “We realized a gross profit of N12.72billion (2018:N15.89billion) and a profit after tax (after accounting for changes in fair value of biological assets) of N3.8billion (2018:N4.3billion)
“Volume wise, 47,253 tons of crude and refined products were sold (2018:48,240 tons). In the year under review, we achieved a milestone of crossing the 200,000 tons mark for fresh fruit bunches harvested with a harvest of 200,097 tons compared with 191,627 tons recorded in 2018.
Speaking at an interactive session Managing Director of Presco , Mr Felix Nwabuko, reiterated the commitment of the Company to enhance Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings and sustain growth. According to him, Presco has resolved to sustain its growth agenda in the interest of all stakeholders.