FRIDAY, 25 JUNE 2010 BY FEMI ADEKOYA
Elder statesman, Dr. Christopher Ogunbanjo, has decried the country’s lingering poor power supply situation, saying the trend would continually impact negatively on the profitability of businesses operating in the country.
Ogunbanjo, who is also the Chairman of Beta Glass Plc, said at the company’s yearly general meeting yesterday, that there is a need for government to create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive in.According to him, “Beta Glass, in order to thrive in its business during the 2009 financial year, had to generate 10MW of electricity. The cost of maintenance is overwhelming and thus affected our business and profitability in the year.
“Towards the end of 2009, we received communications from the gas suppliers about a phenomenal increase (151 per cent) of gas prices resulting from deregulation of LFPO prices. Energy is a major cost driver in our operations and an increase of input cost of this magnitude would have serious long-term adverse implications on the competitiveness of not only our business but to the whole Nigerian industry”, he added. At the meeting, shareholders of company approved a dividend payout of N179.9 million, representing 36 kobo per share as proposed by the board of the company for the December 31, 2009 financial year.
Beside, the shareholders also tasked the company’s board on the need to enhance their return on investment through issuance of bonus from the reserve, as well as increased dividend payout.The company’s turnover for the 2009 financial year rose from N9.07 billion in 2008, to N10.5 billion in 2009,while its profit after taxation closed higher at N1.38 billion in 2009, from N1.19 billion in 2008.
One of the shareholders, Mr Gbadebo Olatokunbo, commended the company for its consistency in enhancing shareholders’ return on investments through dividend payout as well as the immediacy in the payment.According to him, “the resolve by the company to pay dividends the next day after the meeting is highly commendable, especially considering the economic situation in the country and our needs. However, there is a need for the company to declare bonus issues. This will further enhance our investments in the company”.
Another shareholder, Ambassador Ihiala, urged the company to address the issue of unclaimed dividends, noting that government and stakeholders should be engaged in addressing the issue.He then commended the company’s board for ensuring an effective rotational practice, while urging the board to source for credible and useful successors for the retired directors.
Another shareholder, Mr Bakare Batula, commended the company for the performance recorded in its balance sheet in the financial year under review, and urged the board to increase the dividend payout to shareholders, considering the high cost of living in the state.On the result posted in the year, Ogunbanjo explained that the company was able to record the performance in its balance sheet despite the harsh economic environment in which the company operated during the financial year under review.
On the need to reduce the number of unclaimed dividends, he said, “I request that shareholders complete the detachable application form for e-dividend attached to the annual report and deliver it to our registrars. Your compliance with this request will reduce the magnitude of unclaimed dividend. I can only advice that shareholders embrace the e-dividend option”.Ogunbanjo also assured the shareholders of the company’s resolve to address the issue of bonus issue, as the company hopes to improve its drive towards profitability.
On its future outlook, Ogunbanjo said that the company is looking at reducing the effect of the cost of energy on its businesses in order to increase its turnover and profitability.