Seven-Up Bottling Company (SBC) Plc has cut its dividend for the year ended March 31, 2015 by 42 per cent following a decline in the company’s profit for the year. The directors recommended a dividend of 160 kobo per share, down from 275 kobo paid the previous year. According to the audited results released last week, SBC recorded a profit after tax (PAT) of N3.347 billion in 2016, down 53 per cent from N7.126 billion recorded in 2015.
The profit was made from a revenue of N85.635 billion, down marginally from N82.45 billion in 2015. Cost of sale rose from N51.973 billion to N60.62 billion. The company declared a profit before tax (PBT) of N3.8 billion against N8.7 billion recorded a year ago. Finance cost soared by 33 per cent from N2.4 billion to N3.2 billion. Income tax was reduced 74 per cent from N1.623 billion to N409 million. Despite the reduction in tax, SBC ended the year with a PAT of N3.34 billion, compared with N7.12billion.
Basic earnings per share dropped by 53 per cent to N5.23 from N11.12 recorded in 2015. However, the directors of the company have recommended to members a dividend payment of N1.025 billion for 2016, compared with N1.762 billion in 2015. The dividend translates to 160 kobo, down from 275 kobo paid the previous year.
Some market analysts have advised that the company will do better if it reduces its reliance on debt funding. According to them, the company should inject some equity funding by way of rights issue or public offer that would assist to reduce the finance cost.
SBC was founded by a Lebanese, Mohammed El-khalil who came to Nigeria for the very first time in 1926. The company metamorphosed from a very successful transport business (El-Khalil Transport), in a bid to diversify the then largest transport company in the entire West of Africa. However, on October 1, 1960, the first bottle of 7-Up was rolled out from the company’s factory located in Ijora, Lagos.
In the late 80s, it established two more plants in Ibadan and Ikeja. In the early 1990s when Pepsi International took over Seven-Up International, it again got great opportunities to introduce the Pepsi brand to the Nigeria people.