By Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
Pioneer publicly-quoted broadcast group, DAAR Communications Plc, has declared an operating loss of N2.139 billion in 2016, up fromÂ N1.515 billion in 2015.
The Chairman of DAAR Group, Chief Raymond Dokpesi (Jr.)Â told shareholders at the weekend in Abuja at a combined 2015/2016 annual general meeting that the economic recession in the country pushed the companyâ€™s operating loss from N1.515 billion in 2015 to a new height of N 2.139 billion.
His words: â€œThe adverse business environment together with the biting economic recession caused the 2016 turnover of the company to plummet to an all time low if N 3.733 billion representing 47 per cent decline over 2015 earnings.â€
â€œThe loss after taxation in 2016 Â was N2.139 while in Â 2015 loss after taxation was N1.515 billion. As encapsulated earlier, the losses were as a result of the astronomical increase in cost of operations occasioned by the economic recession and the severe devaluation of the naira which could not be matched with corresponding growth in earnings as the advert budget in the industry declined in the ensuing period,â€ he said
The DAAR Group Chairman however assured shareholders that there was a serious hope of the company returning to profitability in the nearest future following a conscious business restructuring and operations digitalisation and expansion project already at its final implementation stage.
As part of the initiatives, he stated that DAAR Communications had successfully resolved allÂ litigation matters in several courts emanating from the 2015 general election, adding that in the process a lot of funds was saved in litigation fees as some were settled out of court or struck out for want of evidence.
He added: â€œDistinguished shareholders, despite the present temporary challenges, as we look into the future, there is no doubt that great prospects still lay ahead for the company and your investment .
â€œI am optimistic that the current challenges in the polity would be satisfactorily addressed by the federal government of Nigeria for no business can thrive in an unstable polity. The recent Executive Orders signed by the acting president aimed at improving the ease of doing business in the country is not only a step in the right direction but should be extended to addressing the infrastructural deficit,â€ he said.
Convinced that the companyâ€™s future holds great prospects, the shareholders, in an uncommonÂ display of selflessness, unanimously voted to return the share bonus offer declared by the company as compensation for its inability to declare a dividend due to the poor result Â back to the organisation.
According to the shareholders, the gesture was part of their contributions to DAARâ€™s quick recovery and return to profitability.
In his address to the shareholders, the Group Managing Director of DAAR Communications, Mr. Tony Akiotu said that in view of the harsh operating environment and low business, the group did not shirk its Â corporate social responsibility (CSR), adding that it offered free aired services to some 135 patients seeking assistance on their medical conditions from different locations across the country.
â€œIn the years under review, on AIT alone, weâ€™re have aired medical fund appeals for 135 patients. This is apart from our other initiatives and projects in our various locations such as donations, rural road construction, free medical tests in conjunction with some Foundations and medical institutions.
â€œWe have embarked on public enlightenment programmes to educate Nigerians on preventive actions against prevalent diseases including renal failure. These Â we are committed to bring as a way of giving back to society for years of support to the company,â€ Akiotu added.