June 06, 2007/Guardian
Smarting from cumulative losses spanning over six years, which erased its shareholders\' fund to a negative level, the National Salt Company Nigeria Plc (NASCON) has returned to profitability with N160 million in the first quarter of 2007.
It was recorded on a turnover, which stood at N1.2 billion in the reviewed period.
Consequently, the company\'s Managing Director, Mr. Ade Adeniji has forecasted on dividend of 60 kobo per share for the current financial year and 100 kobo per share in 2009.
Adeniji who addressed stockbrokers at the presentation of the company\'s \"facts behind the figures\" yesterday said the company has returned fully to profitability and will pay dividend this year.
Besides, he informed the stock exchange that the company plans to invest $12 million on the acquisition of \"our offshore company\" and product expansion.
Still on product expansion, he said the company has commenced the production of tomato puree to be known as Petti Brand, and other processed foods, together with refined salt in sachet, which would eventually be for export.
He explained: \"NASCON started operations in 1973, a Federal Government business, but was listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1991 following its privatisation. By December 2005, debts has accumulated to over N400 million, thereby eroding shareholders fund.
\"Consequently, NASCON issued 2.1 billion shares as purchase consideration and Dangote Salt went into liquidation. We are closing well now and ready to pay dividend for the first time in 12 years.
\"We plan to invest $12 million on possible acquisition offshore and product expansion, and we have excellent supply drains. We will also go into exports and substitute imports. Our first quarter looks good and we expect a better year ahead.\"
Responding, the General Manager, Emerging Markets of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Mr. Uzoma Onyekuru said: \"We think the figures are good and hope you will surpass it. In the next few weeks, the company will release shares to be sold on this market. Details will be made available later.\"