Shareholders of Unilever Nigeria Plc on Thursday approved the N189.2 million dividend recommended by the board of the company for the year ended December 31, 2015.The dividend, which translates to five kobo per share, was approved by the shareholders at the annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos.
The shareholders, however, said the dividend was low and urged the board and management to improve the performance of the company in order to pay higher divided going forward.
Unilever increased its revenue by 6.2 per cent from N55.7 billion recorded in 2014 to N59.2 billion in 2015. But Profit After Tax (PAT) dropped from N2.4 billion in 2014 to N1.2 billion in 2015.
Addressing shareholders at the AGM, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, the Obi of Onitsha, Nnaemeka Achebe, said that Unilever Nigeria Plc has once again demonstrated business resilience under very difficult circumstances.
“Although 2015 was a challenging year for businesses in Nigeria particularly within the manufacturing sector, Unilever remains committed to delivering returns to its shareholders. Our company’s performance demonstrates our entrenched values of creating a brighter future for stakeholders and for our consumers through brands that make them feel good, look good and get more out of life,” he said.
According to him, in the midst of economic downturn, the company will continue to invest heavily in its factories, people, processes and brands in order to continue to build the needed capabilities to win into the future.
“As a company, we will continue to appreciate the resilience and unwavering commitment of all our stakeholders, dynamic employees, loyal consumers, dedicated suppliers and other service providers for their unflinching support through these challenging times,” he said.
The chairman told the shareholders that things have already started looking up in 2016, recording growth in turnover and bottom-line.
While the company recorded 12.5 percent increase in turnover to the tune of N16.8 billion in the first quarter of 2016, PAT grew 76 per cent to N1.04 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2016 compared to the N590 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2015.
“Although the challenges in the operating environment are yet to ease, we have continued to see momentum behind recent initiatives taken by management. We will continue to focus on driving cost efficiencies, growing market share across key categories and reinvesting behind our brands to ensure we satisfy all our stakeholders across board” Achebe said.