Unilever Nigeria Plc has formally applied to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) to raise about N58.851billion fresh capital through Rights Issue. In the application made through its stockbrokers, Stanbic IBTC Stockbrokers Limited, Unilever will be issuing 1,961,709,167 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each at N30.00 per share to shareholders on the basis of 14 new shares for every ordinary shares held.
If successfully raised, it will amount to N58.85 billion, which is lower than the N63 billion approved by the shareholders at the last annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos.
The directors had proposed to shareholders at the AGM to approved that the authorised share capital of the company be increased to N5 billion (from N3.03 billion) by the creation of additional 3.95 billion new ordinary shares of 50 kobo and to raise up to N63 billion by way of Rights Issue, subject to obtaining regulatory approval.
The funds would be used to finance short term bank borrowings and enhance its operations among other reasons. Unilever Nigeria had increased its revenue by 17.8 per cent from N59 billion recorded in 2015 to N69 billion while Profit After Tax (PAT) jumped by 157 per cent from N1.19 billion in 2015 to N3.07 billion in 2016.
Addressing shareholders at the 92nd AGM, the Chairman of Unilever Nigeria, His Majesty Nnaemeka Achebe, theObi of Onitsha said that the company has once again demonstrated business resilience under very difficult circumstances. He asserted that the companyâ€™s performance showed its commitment to grant shareholders returns on their investments
â€œThe companyâ€™s performance for the year ended 31 December 2016 showed sustained growth and resilience even under depressed economic conditions. Although Unilever Nigeria has not been insulated from the tough economic environment, we have remained focused on our short and long term growth ambitions with strong emphasis on operational intensity, cost efficiencies, growing market share across key categories as well as reinvesting behind our iconic brands,â€ he said.
He noted that even in this period of economic downturn, Unilever Nigeria is dogged about ensuring sustained and steady growth in the companyâ€™s operations to achieve improved returns on investments.