Omatek Ventures Plc is finding it pretty hard to pay the dividend it declared late last year.
This development stemmed from the forceful repayment of loans from banks following the reforms embarked upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the banking sector. As result of Omatek Ventures’ inability to pay the dividend approved at its last Annual General Meeting (AGM) last December, shareholders of the company are angry and contemplating dragging Omatek Ventures to court.
The Shareholders had approved a dividend of five kobo per ordinary share due to every shareholder of the company for the financial year ended June 30, 2009.Omatek's shareholders, who thronged the company's registrars’ office, (Afribank Registrar), told THISDAY that Omatek, lied to them at the AGM that it was going to pay their dividend few days after the meeting. A shareholder of the company, Mr. Godwin Chukwuwike, told THISDAY that the shareholders are planning to take the company to court over the matter.
“I was at the AGM when we agreed and approved the 5 kobo dividend and since early December last year when the AGM was held, we have not seen anything. If they have told us that they are not giving us dividend it will be a different story,” he said.A senior official of Afribank Registrar, who spoke to THISDAY on condition of anonymity, said that the registrar has printed the dividend warrant but could not send them to shareholders because Omatek has refused to pay the cash equivalent to their account.
A source close to Omatek told THISDAY that the company is being plagued by the decision of its bankers to call back their loans. Under the Obasanjo administration, banks were allowed to fund companies under the Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs). But the policy reversal has forced banks to call back their loans from companies wanting to exit the SME scheme.
Our source said Omatek got its fingers burnt when one of its financiers - a bank with head quarters in Victoria Island, Lagos, demanded that their loan be paid back and Omatek had to use the money approved for the dividend to offset the loan.