By Ademola Alawiye, Published: Thursday, 13 May 2010
The outlook for 2010 is still cautiously positive even though trading environment for branded fast moving consumer goods will continue to be affected by macro economic factors, the Finance Director, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Mrs Grace Oluoch, has said.
She said this, while presenting the Fact Behind the Figures of the company at the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Wednesday.Oluoch said rising prices for basic commodities and services would be driving inflation, especially in the food, energy and transportation sectors of the economy, while household disposable income levels would be negatively affected.
She added that there would be a continued shortage of capital in the trading environment, a consequence of strict lending conditions by the financial sector.She, however, said that, despite the challenges, the economic environment still provided opportunities to strengthen brands and relationships with consumers and customers.
According to the figures presented by the company for the year ended December 31, 2009, turnover was N44.5bn, reflecting a growth of 19 per cent. Operating profit also grew by 15 per cent, from N4.472bn to N7.061bn in 2009.
Profit after tax rose by 58 per cent or N1.497bn to N4.094bn, up from N2.596bn recorded in 2008. Domestic business grew by 21 per cent to N43.4bn, while exports to the West African region declined by 28 per cent to N1.1bn.
Oluoch said that there was distributors‘ credit squeeze in the first two months of the year, which lowered the rate of sales. She added that recovery started in March.
The Director-General, NSE, Prof. Ndi Okereke Onyuike, said,”There are positive prospects for the Nigerian economy in 2010, which we have started witnessing at the capital market. The indices have improved compared to what we had last year.”