By Eromosele Abiodun
Shareholders of Berger Paints Nigeria Plc have endorsed the directors’ proposal for the payment of a dividend of N 217. 4 million, translating into 75 kobo per share for the company’s 2015 financial year.
Besides, the elated shareholders have expressed support for the company’s automated plant, the first of its kind in Sahara Africa, which is expected to significantly increase the company’s operational efficiencies.
Addressing the shareholders last week at the annual general meeting (AGM), the Chairman of the company, Dr. Oladimeji Alo explained that the company had continued to make significant progress despite the challenging operating environment characterised by decline in the world crude oil prices, controversial exchange rate of the Naira to foreign currencies, delay in the budgetary approval insurgency and other disturbing issues, Berger Paints was able to scale the hurdle.
“In spite of the challenging operating environment, our Company continued to sustain its performance, with emphasis on profitability and value creation for shareholders. Our Profit before Tax (PBT) grew from N 249.3 million in 2014 to N 565.2 million in 2015, representing a 126.7 per cent increase.
“As a demonstration of the confidence it has in the future of the Company, and to reward shareholders for their investment, the Board is recommending for your approval, the sum of N 217, 367, 585 to be paid out as dividend. This works out at 75 kobo per share, “Alo said.
He noted that as part of the strategy to sustain the company’s competitive edge, the special attention would be placed on the following: increase in the earnings and profitability, optimisation of existing assets and business operations, commissioning of the new factory, investment in the leading brands, entering new categories with emphasis on nano castings, and driving efficient financial management among others.
Responding to shareholders’ comments, Alo assured them that the new factory under construction would bring about tremendous improvement in the company’s operations. According to him, talks are going on with the appropriate authorities to secure tax break as pioneer status. He explained that the request for bonus shares would be considered at the appropriate time while the company would deploy the use of its products as part of the new measures to improve its community social relations (CSR).
Also speaking at the meeting, the Managing Director, Mr Peter Folikwe, explained that one of the strategic plans to boost earnings was to reduce cost through operational efficiency.
Folikwe stated that consumer education would be accorded high priority to strengthen the relationship between the company and its customers.
Commenting on the outsourced depots, the MD explained that it was a product of collaboration between the company and the entrepreneurs who are handling the depot business.
Shareholders generally commended the board and management for the company’s ability to sustain its operations despite the inclement operating environment. They assured the board and management of continued collaborative efforts.
Berger Paints Nigeria Plc, which commenced operations in Nigeria on the 9th January, 1959 is an acclaimed leader in the coating and allied industry in Nigeria. The company’s track records include its being the first paints manufacturer to be established on Nigeria, the first paints company to be quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the first paints researcher to introduce textured coating named Texcote to the Nigeria market.