Forte Oil Leads 24 Gainers as Stock Market Closes Flat

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The stock market declined by marginal 0.02 per cent wednesday despite higher number of price gainers. Although a total of 24 stocks appreciated, the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) All-Share Index declined by 0.02 per cent to close at 32,375.12. Market capitalisation shed N2.1 billion to close lower at N11.8 trillion. Profit taking in International Breweries Plc, FBN Holding Plc and United Bank for Africa Plc led to the decline in the index.

However, Forte Oil Plc led the price gainers with 10 per cent, trailed by Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc by 9.7 per cent. Regency Alliance Insurance Plc and

Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc appreciated by 9.09 each.

Prestige Assurance plc went up by 8.7 per cent, just Union Diagnostic & Clinical Services Plc garnered 8.5 per cent.

Other top price gainers included Linkage Assurance Plc (8.4 per cent); Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (6.4 per cent); AIICO Insurance Plc (6.2 per cent) and Skye Bank Plc (6.06 per cent).

The shares of Forte Oil Plc has attracted high demand lately. The petroleum product marketing firm had ended half year to June 30, 2018 with an impressive performance.

Profit after tax from continuing and discontinued operations increased by 93 per cent to N 7.9 billion compared to N4.11 billion recorded in 2017. Earnings per share grew by 47 per cent to N1.54 compared to N1.05 recorded for the same period in 2017, while total assets improved by four per cent to N153 billion, up from N147 billion recorded for the same period in H1 2017.

According to the company, the first half of 2018 witnessed a more stable operating environment with higher oil prices, foreign exchange availability and improved petroleum product supply across the country.

“As a company, we commenced our strategic plans and initiatives to re-examine our business model and optimizing our balance sheet through asset disposal and expansion of our downstream operations in Nigeria. In May 2018, we obtained the approval of the board and shareholders at the 39th annual general meeting to pursue our divestment initiatives and the company commenced the process to divest its interest in Power, Upstream Services and Marketing in Ghana (APOG). As at 30 June 2018, these subsidiaries were classified as disposal groups held for sale and as discontinued operations,” it said.

The company explained that despite the operational challenges and discontinued operations, the company recorded 32 per cent growth in revenues, translating to N61.8 billion, compared to N46.7 billion in H1, 2017 as a result of improved product supplies. While administrative expenses reduced by nine from N3.82 billion recorded in 2017 to N3.48 billion in 2018.