Shareholders of Nigeria’s foremost brewing company, Nigerian Breweries Plc, have unanimously approved the dividend payout of N13.87 billion for the 2022 financial year. The dividend was approved at the 77th Annual General Meeting of the company held at the Civic Centre in Lagos on Wednesday, April 26, 2023.
The shareholders equally authorised an intercompany loan of 110 million euros from Heineken International, which is meant to settle foreign currency-denominated payment obligations of the company.
Speaking during the Annual General Meeting, the outgoing Chairman of the company’s Board of Directors, Chief Kola Jamodu, explained that each shareholder would receive a final dividend of N1.03 having earlier received an interim dividend of 40k that was approved in October 2022.
Jamodu noted that despite the market’s competitive nature, the company maintained its market leadership position while ensuring value to the business and its esteemed shareholders. He said that the company had demonstrated strong resilience under difficult economic circumstances, which were occasioned by inflation and low disposable income.
Speaking on the loan, he stressed that it was necessary at this time to help the company address the challenge of forex and pay off some of its overdue foreign currency denominated payables. This will help to ensure that there is no disruption in its operations due to a shortage of imported raw materials as its procurement agent would have stopped its services as a result of the overdue payables.
“Forex loss was a major impact on our profitability in 2022. Access to Forex continues to be a major issue for NB Plc. The increase in our trade payables has been driven majorly by outstanding payments to our foreign trade partners due to unavailability of forex at the official windows”, he said.
Some of the shareholders who spoke at the meeting described the payment of dividends to shareholders as commendable despite the myriad of challenges confronting the business.
One of the shareholders who spoke at the event, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, applauded the board and management of the company for managing the business effectively, as reflected in the improved performance in profit and revenue recorded by the company for the 2022 financial year.
“The company’s financial performance for the 2022 financial year was good. NB Plc has done well with the payment of dividends to shareholders, especially with the economic hardship we are facing and the low purchasing power of consumers. It shows that the company saved for the rainy day,” Okezie said.
Also speaking, another shareholder – the Chairman Emeritus, the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, lauded the company’s management for its financial performance despite the challenging macroeconomic outlook.
While commending the company for the payment of dividends to shareholders, Nwosu hailed the current leadership for demonstrating immense capacity to drive the company to greater heights with some of the bold decisions taken in the course of the 2022 financial year.
“I would like to express deep appreciation to the board and management of Nigerian Breweries Plc for showing great leadership in managing the business amidst challenges. On behalf of other shareholders, I would like to commend everyone, including the staff, for their contribution that has resulted in a good performance for the company. I am confident that this year would also benefit the company,” he said.
Responding, the Managing Director/CEO, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Hans Essaadi, expressed his gratitude to all the company’s shareholders for their invaluable support, stating that the company remains committed to delivering long-term growth to its shareholders, inspite of the current economic headwinds and challenges.
Also speaking at the AGM, the Company Secretary & Legal Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, Mr. Uaboi Agbebaku, stated that the 2022 financial year witnessed a growth in performance, as evident in the rise of of its net revenue by 26% from N437.2 billion in 2021 to N550.5 billion in 2022.
A breakdown of the company’s audited results shows that the Profit after Tax (PAT) recorded for the 2022 financial year grew by 8% from N12.9 billion to N13.9 billion. He explained that the Cost of Sales, Marketing, and Distribution expenses were under severe pressure due to inflation, devaluation of the naira, and high energy costs.