UAC of Nigeria Plc (UACN) said it would pay shareholders a dividend per share of N0.65 equivalent to a cumulative payout of N1.9 billion for the 2021 financial year, according to a statement issued by the company’s board seen on Thursday.
The proposed dividend is 54.2 per cent lower than the cash reward shareholders received last year, when aside from a N0.65 dividend, the firm paid a special dividend of N0.55, summing up to N1.20.
Shareholders’ consent at the forthcoming annual general meeting will pave the wy for the payment of the dividend electronically on June 23.
“The board has approved and are also recommending to shareholders for their approval at the forthcoming AGM, a right of election for qualifying shareholders to receive new ordinary shares in the Company instead of the dividend in cash,” the document said.
“The election is required to be made on or before June 14, 2022.
According to its audited earnings report, UACN’s revenue expanded one-fourth to N101.4 billion, thanks to a surge in earnings from animal feeds and other edibles, which contributed more than 60 per cent of the total sales for the period, and increased income from packaged food & beverages.
An 11 per cent jump in operating costs and a near treble rise in finance costs, the cost incurred by the company in the borrowing of money, had dire implications for pre-tax profit, which fell 19.2 per cent to N4.1 billion.
Profit after tax stood at N2.6 billion, one-third weaker than the figure posted a year ago.
“We are encouraged by strong topline growth delivered across our operating platforms and improving efficiency as evidenced by our operating expenses to sales ratio,” said CEO Fola Aiyesimoju.
“Sustained escalation in raw material costs remains a concern and resulted in deterioration of our gross profit margin which we did not fully offset with our efficiency gains.”
Originally a trading company when it set foot in Nigeria in 1879 as United African Company, UACN has evolved into a conglomerate with operations spanning manufacturing, warehousing and logistics, services, real estate and agriculture.
A separately listed subsidiary Chemical and Allied Products Plc forged a merger with Portland Paints last year.
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