THURSDAY, 21 OCTOBER 2010 BY FEMI ADEKOYA
The shareholders of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, yesterday, approved a dividend payout of N3.4 billion or N2.00 per share and a bonus of one new ordinary share for every ten ordinary shares as proposed by the company’s board for the March 31, 2010, financial year.
Besides, to further reduce the effects of loan repayments and enhance returns on investments, the board of has explained that half of its corporate bond recently issued and reserved by way of shelf registration will be utilised in order to have access to a cheaper source of finance through the capital market.
According to the board, the move to keep a balance of N35 billion as a shelf registration will enable the company to reduce the effects of the harsh economic environment witnessed in the current financial year, to aid its future expansion projects, especially in power generation.
Speaking at the company’s yearly general meeting in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman of the company, Mr George Coumantaros, explained that the company hopes to refinance its existing term loans, provide funds for its future investments in capital projects aimed at enhancing its existing milling capacity over the next two years and undertake new investments in the food and/or cement sectors.On the company’s financial result for the March 31, 2010 financial year, Coumantaros said that the company was able to record the positive result in the year despite the challenging economic environment.
In his words: “We ended the year on a happy note with strong financial position giving us the ability to respond to challenges and take advantage of emerging growth opportunities. The impressive result was largely driven by organic growth in our core business of flour milling coupled with significant production efficiencies. The relative stability of exchange rates was a big plus”.
Commenting on the company’s performance in the financial year under review, the National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Solidarity Association (ISAN), Mr. Sunny Nwosu, commended the company’s efforts in enhancing shareholders’ return on investment by increasing the company’s profitability.He however urged the company’s board to harness the opportunities provided by the nation’s capital market and also increase the dividend payable to shareholders in the years to come as well as the bonus issues.
The President of Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association (NSSA), Mr Timothy Adesiyan, called on the company’s board to make provisions for minority representation on the board and also utilise its general reserve.A close look at the company’s financial performance in the last financial year, showed that its turnover rose from N180 billion in 2009 to N206.6 billion in 2010, while its profit after tax closed higher at N16.9 billion from N3.9 billion in 2009.