… Pays N1.05 kobo Dividend
Lafarge Africa Plc on Wednesday received shareholders’ approval to raise N140 billion through a right issue, just as the proposed dividend of N1.05 kobo will be paid to shareholders that are in the register of the company today. The dividend which was approved at the company 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos amounts to N5.8 billion, representing 34.7 percent of the company net income after tax.
Commenting on the proposed right issue, chairman of Lafarge Africa Plc Mobolaji Balogun, explained that it will represents an important step in resolving the company foreign currency exposure and its impacts on the company earnings and positions the company for their future capacity expansion plans.
Balogun pointed out that “in addition to reducing our debt, the rights issue to raise up to N140 billion provides all our shareholders the opportunity to increase their investment in the company. The recapitalization is positive and our largest shareholder, LafargeHolcim have committed to subscribing to their rights in full through a conversion of existing shareholders loans.
He noted that the investment is a strong indication of the group’s continued belief in the Nigeria, stressing that it’s the largest right issue and the largest investment in a listed company by an investor. On the concern raised by shareholders, if the Lafarge Africa will not delist after raising the money, Balogun debunked the fear, while he urged existing shareholders to pick up their rights once it opens.
Hopefully after statutory regulatory approval, according to Balogun, the right issue is expected to open third quarter of 2017. Aside the capital raising, shareholders also authorized the liquidation of Egyptian Cement Holding B.V (ECH) and Nigerian Cement Holding B.V (NCH) and the transfer of all the assets and liabilities to the company.
Responding to shareholders questions on the company energy and operational challenges, Michel Puchercos, the country Chief Executive Officer, said the plan is to increase the use of alternative fuel such as biomass and locally mined coal to lessen production disruptions caused by gas supply shortages.
On the company future plan, Balogun said the turn-around plan that was launched last year is already impacting positively on the financial results for 2017. Adding that they will increased local sourcing of critical materials to lower foreign exchange component of their operational costs.