By Helen Oji
Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc has posted a turnover of N164.21billion in its 2009 operations, against N145.46billion in 2008. The company's profit after tax also stood at N27.91 billion from N25.70 billion in achieved 2008.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Paul Hammers, while addressing journalists during the company's pre-AGM forum in Lagos yesterday, explained that the percentage increase in turnover is 13 per cent, while profit after tax grew by nine per cent.
He said that the operating profit during the year under review increased to N41.66 billion from N36.78 billion in 2008, while profit before tax stood at N41.40billion from N37.52 in 2008.
Based on the improved performance, the directors of the company, according to Hammers, were recommending a final dividend of N3.69kobo due to every shareholder of the company. This amount is an increase of nine per cent over N3.40 paid in 2008.
The company had in May 2009 and January 2010, declared two interim dividends amounting to N2.80 per ordinary share of 50 kobo each to its shareholders.
The NB Plc boss added that despite the economic recession, the company invested heavily on capacity building to boost skill development, marketing, as well as upgrading facilities to enhance operations.
To consolidate on the performance and sustain growth, Hammers said the company also embarked on various product innovations, such as reformulating Maltina drink by fortifying it with calcium, Gulder and Fayrouz re-launch in cans, Star brand repackaging among other innovations.
He said the company-generated revenue of about five per cent from the innovations in 2009, adding that the total revenue from these brand innovations in the last three years is 11 per cent of the total NB revenue.
The Managing Director, while fielding questions from reporters concerning the affordability of the products said: "The cost of doing business in Nigeria is high. Can you believe that seven per cent of our revenue on powers still we brew sell and distribute in Nigeria. We have been increasing our price below inflation.
"We have started price complaint programme to ensure that many outlets carry our recommended prices. All our outlets will have clear company prices to ensure affordability.''
On the future outlook of the company, the managing director expressed optimism that the economy will witness a modest growth, which would impact in the brewing industry.
In view of this, he said the company is putting strategies in place to maintain and improve its market leadership, increase investment in sales and trade market, increase investment in the portfolio of brands and sustain total cost control.
"The economy will witness a modest growth and the same is expected for the brewed product market. We believe that the beverage market will strengthen. There is a clear strategy put in place to maintain and improve market leadership increase investment and sustain total cost control.''