Shareholders of Dangote Cement on Wednesday at the company’s 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM), held in Lagos were full of praise for the Board, Management and staff of the company after approving the dividend payout of N10.50 per 50k share, representing 90 per cent of net profit and an increase of 23.5 per cent on the N8.5 per share paid last year.
The shareholders described Dangote Cement as a very reliable company that has consistently demonstrated its love for the shareholders. They unanimously urged the regulators to give a special award to Dangote Cement and its Management for keeping faith with the shareholders. President of Progressives Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, said the shareholders were pleased with Aliko Dangote and his team. He said for the company to still pay a robust dividend despite the recession in the economy, which also affected their operations shows the doggedness and the fighting entrepreneurial spirit of the Management.
According to him “We are very happy and pleased with this result. 2017 was very tough with the recession and fluctuation in the foreign exchange market which the Chairman also said affected their operations, but despite all these challenges, the company was still able to pay us a very good dividend, better than last year, and even gave us hope of better returns on our investments in the years to come. This is very commendable and it is only a company like Dangote Cement that can achieve this laudable feat.”
Dr. Umar Farouk, another shareholders’ association leader urged the regulators to adequately compensate the Management of the Dangote Cement with an award as it has consistently kept faith with its shareholders. He expressed optimism on the pan African plants, especially now that the Plants are contributing significantly to the turnover of the company.
“It is a statement of fact that we are lucky to be shareholders of this great company. If you see what our subsidiaries across Africa are contributing to the turnover, then you will understand what I am talking about. I am very happy and our members are upbeat for the future, knowing fully well that it will only get better.”
Chairman of Dangote Cement, Aliko Dangote, however, attributed the 31 percent increase in the company’s revenue of N805.6 billion to its pan African operations growth which also recorded a significant increase in revenue from N195 billion to N258.4 billion in 2017.
He said: “Pan African operations increased volumes by 8.4 percent, with Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa all performing strongly and close to their operating capacity”
Noting that the company experienced some challenges in operating in sub-Saharan Africa, Dangote said the Management responded in a robust fashion and benefited from “…the diversity we have created across our business and because of our local knowledge and attitudes towards doing business in neighboring countries in Africa.”
Explaining the rationale behind the success recorded by the Dangote Cement’s revenue, the acting Group Chief executive, Joe Makoju said “… the increase was helped by our decision to increase our use of local coal in Nigeria and that also helped to improve our fuel security, maintain production uptime and it reduced our need for foreign currency. We source coal from our parent company, Dangote Industries and from another Nigerian supplier, and we are very happy with the way this has worked out for us because it has enabled us to phase out the use of expensive low pour fuel oil in our kilns and also to reduce our use of imported coal”
On the future growth plans for the Group, Makoju said “ …As it stands, I think we will focus on building new grinding plants along the coast of West Africa, and ensure we have clinker export facilities in Nigeria. We are looking at the possibility of two new lines in Nigeria, perhaps by the end of 2020 and it is likely these will be in Edo state and Obajana, with a combined capacity of 6Mta”