By Adedapo Adesanya
Following a drop to its export numbers in 2019, Dangote Cement has announced plans to start exporting from its Congo Republic plants to neighbouring countries.
It was reported that last year, the company’s export in Nigeria fell by 41 percent due to the border closure policy of the federal government as part of its backward integration project and to curb smuggling of contrabands and weapons into the country through porous openings.
This policy, which abruptly started in August 2019, has affected many manufacturing companies as they have been unable to bring in or export products out of the country through the various land borders.
As a result, prices of commodities have continued to rise with less purchasing power, pushing inflation to 12.13 percent in January 2020, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
During an analyst call, the outgoing Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Mr Joseph Makoju, said that the border closure affected its exports, which fell to 0.5 million tonnes in 2019 from 0.7 million tonnes in both 2018 and 2017.
He said the company had exported to West and Central Africa from Nigeria, but with the closure came a reduction in its capacity to do this.
Mr Makoju further said that total production volumes last year were flat at 14.1 million tonnes, adding that higher discounts, marketing and haulage cost caused core profit to fall 9.1 percent, while margins slid 59.2 percent.
“We undoubtedly faced several challenges last year. We are very optimistic about the market in 2020 and we expect to see some increase especially for infrastructure project,” he added.
Looking further, he said that the company plans to start exporting clinker, the main raw material to make cement, from Congo in 2020 and also promote its Nigerian production more heavily to support growth.
He further said that there were plans to commence a share buy-back programme which will kick sometime this year, saying the programme is presently being delayed by regulatory approval.
Mr Makoju also said Dangote Cement was actively considering a London listing, but that the process was still under review.
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