Despite all odds in the financial service sector of Nigerian economy, Crusader (Nigeria) Plc has recorded an impressive operational result in 2008.
The company’s gross premium income increased by 65 per cent from N2.168 billion in 2007 to N3.579 billion in 2008, while total income also increased from N3.001 billion in 2007 to N3.743 billion in 2008.
Although, while addressing the company’s shareholders at the 39th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos last week, Professor Monsur Kenku, the Chairman, Crusader Board of Directors, noted the decline in investment income arising from the downturn in the capital market.
Professor Kenku, who noted that the company’s overall performance fell below expectations, further alluded it to the extra-ordinary loss occasioned by the suspended public offer and the cancellation of the proposed right issue.
According to him, the company’s exposure to the capital market cost was put at N159.878 million in profit write-off, while the diminution in the value of the equity portfolio shaved off N729.655 million in equity revaluation reserves and shareholders’ funds.
While feeding questions from the shareholders, the company’s Group Managing Director, Mr. Olutola Mobolurin, blamed the shareholders for the failure of the rights issue embarked on by the company, adding that if the shareholders had taken up their rights during the programme, it would have been a successful outing.
In spite of the decline in the profit before tax and the earnings per share that dropped from N1.567 billion and 36.27 kobo in 2007 to N372.656 million and 7 kobo respectively in 2008, the company still gave bonuses.
According to Professor Kenku, “Based on the performance during the period under review, the board was only recommending a bonus issue of one ordinary share for every 10 shares currently held in the company. The bonus translates to N410,964,414 ordinary shares of 50 kobo each, amounting to N205,482,207.”
However, the chairman, who hinted that most of the effects of the global financial downturn would persist throughout 2009, disclosed that the company was taking steps to ensure that a strong platform was maintained for the future prosperity of the business.
He said further that the company would pursue vigorously its programmes of diversification into other areas of the financial services, while the existing insurance businesses would be reorganised to achieve greater efficiency and effectiveness.
Professor Kenku, however, lamented the poor power supply in the country, saying, “the power sector toady, perhaps, constitutes the biggest cog to industrial production, employment and social welfare of the society,” and he stressed that the Federal Government needed to visit the sector with holistic approach, which, he said, would facilitate economic prosperity in Nigeria.