Shareholders of Abbey Building Society of Nigeria Plc, yesterday, approved N168 million, translating to four kobo dividend per share due to every shareholder of the company. Addressing shareholders during the 18th yearly general meeting of the company in Lagos, the Chairman of the company, Mr. Ifeanyichukwu Ochonogor, said the company’s decision to pay dividend despite the global economic meltdown is to demonstrate its commitment toward maximising shareholders value as well as delivering good returns o shareholders investment.
“Our sustained efforts at maximizing shareholders value remains a top priority and the board has accordingly recommended the dividend payment of N168 million. We remain committed to delivery superior returns of our shareholders and this we demonstrated once again by ensuring that a major parts of our profits set aside for our valued investors”.The company in its financial year ended October 2009 posted gross earnings of N1.5 billion against N1.2 billion recorded in 2008, which represents 29 per cent growth, while its profit after tax increased to N354 million from N230 million in 2008, an increase of 54 per cent.
The total asset of the company also grew from N10.2 billion in 2008 to N10.7 billion during the year under review. Ochonogor told shareholders that the performance was achieved through prudent cost management and aggressive debt recovery exercise embarked upon by the company.He explained that the company embarked on a repository strategy in the last financial year, in order to strengthen the banks competitive edge with a business developmental strategies focused on asset quality, corporate governance and management operations.He added that the company would record tremendous growth across all the indices as the company consolidates its long-term developmental goals in the present financial year.
He assured shareholders that the delivery of long-term shareholders value is achieveable, even as the company continues to monitor developments both in local and global economy and diversifying its operation to enhance profitability.Also commenting on the perfomance , the Managing Director of the company, Mrs Rose Okwechime attributed the company’s significant improvements over the years despite difficulties besetting the mortgage sub-sector to unrelenting efforts on the part of the board, management and staff of the company to ensure that the company remains focused in the industry adding that the result projects robust growth and a promising future for the company.“This determination has paid off and the result is what has been manifested,” she stated.
She noted that the company’s 18th yearly general meeting slated for Wednesday June 16, 2010 would afford the company the opportunity to table its plans before the shareholders for approval.Explaining further, Okwechime said the company has recently secured a $10 million convertible loan from the Netherlands Development Corporation.According to her, the company would use the loan in enhancing housing and mortgage facilities for cooperatives with good track records, as well as, support bona fide estate developers and corporate organisations in their housing projects.
She noted that the loan is also expected to go a long way toward improving Nigerians increasing housing needs, enhance home ownership and generate employment.“In Abbey's determination to meet and even supersede its set targets, in the area of home ownership, through partnership with estate developers and relevant government agencies have got Africinvest Financial Sector Limited of Tunisia to invest in the equity of Abbey to the tune of 1.25 million euros convertible loan in April, 2008,” Okwechime said.She added that in October 2009, the company also had a facility loan of $5 million from Shelter Afrique of Nairobi, Kenya to enable it further strengthening its core business of mortgage lending and construction finance in Nigeria.
Okwechime said there was no doubt that judging by the array of foreign institutional investors the company has been able to attract investors at a time when they are divesting and repatriating their capital away from Nigeria, adding that the company has been able to demonstrate its capacity, transparency and corporate governance to such investors.