By Dipo Olowookere
Chairman of Dangote Cement, Mr Aliko Dangote, has said he hopes the company operates in at least 18 African countries in the shortest time.
The Africa’s richest man made this known at the 10th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company held in Lagos this week.
Addressing shareholders of the cement manufacturing firm, the business mogul said the expansion will bring about more money to the company and its shareholders.
He said to achieve this goal, efforts would be made to increase the capacity of the company’s Obajana Plant to 16 million metric tons, making it one of the biggest cement plants in the world.
“All these, surely will translate to an enhanced value appreciation to the shares of Dangote cement and more money in the pockets of the shareholders,” Mr Dangote informed the shareholders, who listened to him with keen attention with smile on their faces.
According to him, Dangote Cement plans to attract about $700 million foreign exchange into the Nigerian economy in no distance time through export of the products, thereby helping the federal government and the group in its other activities across Africa.
“We have a lot of on-going projects aimed at increasing capacity and by next year, we will not only export 1 million tons as we normally do now, we will be servicing both the domestic and other African countries from Nigeria.
“We will have capacity of about 8 million tons to export and that will generate foreign exchange of about $700 million into the country,” Mr Dangote further said at the AGM.
He described 2018 fiscal year as the most successful for the company as it recorded an increase in cement sales by 7.4 percent to 23.5 million tonnes and 11.9 per cent growth in revenues to N901.2 billion.
“Sales of cement from our Nigerian plants increased by 11.4 percent to 14.2 million metric tons in 2018.
“Our pan-African operations contributed 9.4 million metric tons, level on 2017, with strong performances in Cameroon, Senegal and Zambia helping to offset weaknesses in Ethiopia and with gas turbines now operating in Tanzania, we expect these two large plants to improve their performance in 2019, further increasing profitability,” he disclosed.
Mr Dangote, who described the shareholders and staff as the bedrock of the company, further said later in the year, “We will open export facilities in Lagos and Port Harcourt that will enable us to export clinker, initially to our grinding plants that we are building in West Africa.”
Group Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Mr Joseph Makoju, while also addressing the shareholders, said in 2019, focus would be on efficiency gains and achieving higher sales in domestic and export markets.
“A major priority for us is to get these export terminals on stream so we can replace non-African imports in Cameroon, rake in foreign currency for Nigeria and increase the utilization of our Nigerian plants,” he said.
At the meeting, shareholders approved the N16 per share dividend proposed by the board of directors of the firm, expressing their delight in the 52.4 percent increase in the payout for the 2018 financial year and like Oliver Twist, they asked the company to do more in the present fiscal year.
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