By Dipo Olowookere
Shareholders of NASCON Plc have been assured of good returns on their investments especially with plans to roll out more products before the end of this year.
At the firm’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Thursday, Chairperson of NASCON, Mrs Yemisi Ayeni, disclosed that plans were underway to invest in salt packaging and seasoning cubing lines.
She said further that when introduced, the new products will enhance the company’s turnover, profitability and ultimately rub-off positively on the shareholders.
For the year under review, Mrs Ayeni said while the revenue from the sales of salt increased by 24 percent to N14.82 billion, sales from seasoning increased by 127 per cent to N0.54 billion.
Highlighting on the firm’s last year performance, Mrs Ayeni revealed that the company recorded a turnover of N18.29 billion, representing a 13 percent increase over the N16.18 billion in the previous year.
The profit after tax, according to her, increased by 15 percent from N2.11 billion in 2015 to N2.42 billion, while earnings per share also increased from 79 kobo to 91 kobo. As a sign of stability, the company has N2.45 billion in cash reserves for the year under review.
Unanimously, the shareholders approve the payment of 70 kobo per share dividend, representing a pay-out ratio of 77 percent at N1.85 billion, an improvement from the previous year when it paid N1.46 billion to shareholders.
On her part, Executive Director, Commercial, Ms Fatima Aliko Dangote, also assured the shareholders of good returns on their investments, noting that the company was doing so much to enhance their stakes on a consistent basis.
She said, “We are expanding, we are investing on new refinery for our salt and we are also looking at innovations, we are bringing other products that are going to be launched this year. So, hopefully, 2017 will be a better year for the company and also importantly for the shareholders.
“We placed shareholders interest so high because they have actually trusted us, they have invested in our business and as you can see, regardless of our challenges, we are still able to push really hard and declare profits. We have to take our shareholders very seriously so that they can keep trusting us, and by so doing, more people will keep buying our shares and hold us in high regards.”
Recalled that the company’s management, led by the Managing Director, Mr Paul Ferrer, paid NAFDAC’s Director-General, Mrs Yetunde Oni, a courtesy visit in her office in Lagos.
Mr Ferrer had expressed satisfaction at the efforts of the agency leadership to sanitise the food market by getting rid of fake and substandard products and turning the heat on the perpetrators, adding that the efforts had paid off.
He however explained that he observed an infringement on the directives of the Agency on the packaging of industrial salts by some undesired elements.
According to him, contrary to the directives of the NAFDAC that industrial salt should only be packaged in 50kg, his organization observed the existence of the industrial salt in small sizes as 5kg, 10kg, 15kg, and 20kg.
He reasoned that someone somewhere has been has been repackaging the 50kg size to smaller sizes and supplying to the markets, a development he said is dangerous as people may be misled to be buying the industrial salt in place of the table salt which comes in the smaller sizes.
The Dangote Salt boss therefore enjoined NAFDAC to help see to the development as the unsuspecting consumers might not know the difference between the iodized table salt and the industrial salt.
In her response, Mrs Oni thanked the NASCON management for the confidence reposed in her agency. She said the observation was one of the many infringements her agency has been battling tooth and nail and that the NAFDAC management would not relent in the fight against every infringement to see that the people have access to right quality products always.
She advised companies in the food sector to have a Post-Market Surveillance (PMS) unit in their establishment for self-regulation of their market to make enforcement easier for NAFDAC.
Employment Growth Quickens Amid Efforts to Deal With Workloads
The Nigerian private sector registered a slight loss of growth momentum in January, with output and new business rising further markedly, though at softer rates than at the end of 2022.
On a more positive note, firms raised employment at the fastest pace since June 2018 as part of efforts to complete work on time.
On the price front, rates of inflation of input costs and output prices softened in January but remained elevated.
Analysis by Stanbic IBTC Bank showed that the headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI®).
Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration. The headline PMI dipped to 53.5 in January from 54.6 in December. Although still signalling a solid monthly strengthening of the private sector and the thirty-first in consecutive months, the rate of improvement was the softest since August 2022.
Business activity increased at a much slower pace at the start of the year, despite the rate of growth remaining marked. The latest rise was the weakest in five months. Demand continued to improve, but some firms reported a moderation in customer numbers.
Activity increased across each of the four broad sectors covered by the survey. The rate of expansion in new business also softened in January but remained sharp nonetheless, again reflecting higher demand from customers.
A desire to try and complete projects on time led companies to ramp up their hiring activities at the start of the year. Employment increased at a solid pace that was the fastest since June 2018.
Despite expanded staffing levels, backlogs of work increased for the first time in three months. Firms reported having been hindered by issues with machinery and power supply.
Higher workloads and positive expectations regarding the outlook for activity led companies to expand their purchasing activity sharply again, with the rate of growth unchanged from December. In turn, stocks of purchases also rose further. Efforts to secure inputs were helped by improving supplier performance.
Competition among vendors, quiet road conditions and prompt payments all contributed to a shortening of delivery times, one that was the most pronounced in four months. The rate of input cost inflation softened for the second month running in January, and was at a one-year low.
The slowdown in overall cost inflation largely reflected a softer rise in purchase prices, albeit one that was still substantial. Purchase costs increased on the back of rising fuel and raw material costs, exacerbated by currency weakness.
Meanwhile, staff costs rose at the fastest pace in 11 months as companies increased pay in line with higher living costs. Output price inflation also remained elevated as higher cost burdens were passed on to customers.
NASD OTC Market Appreciates by 0.95%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The duo of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc buoyed the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange by 0.95 per cent on Thursday, February 2.
They lifted the market capitalisation of the bourse by N8.80 billion to settle at N940.51 billion compared with the previous day’s N931.71 billion. They also raised the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) by 6.70 points to wrap the session at 715.76 points compared with 709.06 points recorded in the previous session.
During the session, the price of FrieslandCampina went up by N3.23 to settle at N68.06 per unit, in contrast to the previous day’s N64.83 per unit, while CSCS Plc appreciated by 50 Kobo to sell at N13.50 per share compared with the preceding session’s N13 per share.
The volume of transacted stocks decreased by 4.3 per cent to 261,439 units from the 273,038 units traded in the preceding session. However, the value of shares traded went higher by 38.9 per cent to N15.7 million from N11.3 million, while the number of deals recorded an improvement, as it grew by 300 per cent to 20 deals from five deals on Tuesday.
Business Post reports that there was no price loser at the session.
Geo-Fluids finished the day as the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 321.2 million units worth N317.2 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 35.8 million units valued at N25.8 million, while FrieslandCampina Wamco Nigeria Plc was in third place with 2.4 million units valued at N159.4 million.
Geo-Fluids Plc also maintained its summit position as the most active stock by value on a year-to-date basis, with 321.2 million units sold for N317.2 million, FrieslandCampina WAMCO Group Plc was in second place with 2.4 million units valued at N159.4 million, while VFD Group Plc was in third place for trading 561,810 units for N137.0 million.
Continuous Bargain Hunting Leaves Local Stock Exchange Higher by 0.93%
By Dipo Olowookere
The local stock exchange closed higher by 0.93 per cent on Thursday amid continuous bargain hunting by investors, who are digesting a flurry of full-year corporate earnings.
It was observed that the growth reported during the session was strongly influenced by buying pressure in the energy sector, which rose by 5.17 per cent on the back of gains posted by Seplat, MRS Oil and others.
The banking and insurance counters depreciated on Thursday by 0.44 per cent and 0.39 per cent, respectively, as the consumer goods and the industrial goods sectors closed flat.
At the close of trades, the All-Share Index (ASI) of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited increased by 498.44 points to 53,998.12 points from 53,499.68 points, and the market capitalisation grew by N271 billion to close at N29.411 trillion compared with the midweek session’s N29.140 trillion.
MRS Oil topped the gainers’ chart after it gained 10.00 per cent to finish at N17.60, Northern Nigerian Flour Mills appreciated by 9.88 per cent to N8.90, International Energy Insurance rose by 9.76 per cent to 90 Kobo, Seplat went up by 9.50 per cent to N1,325.00, and Cornerstone Insurance improved by 9.09 per cent to 60 Kobo.
On the flip side, Sunu Assurances topped the losers’ log after it lost 8.11 per cent to trade at 34 Kobo, Mutual Benefits fell by 7.69 per cent to 36 Kobo, Linkage Assurance dropped by 6.25 per cent to 45 Kobo, Veritas Kapital declined by 4.76 per cent to 20 Kobo, and PZ Cussons depleted by 4.65 per cent to N10.25.
Business Post reports that the market breadth was positive as there were 27 price gainers and 12 price losers, indicating a strong investor sentiment.
Investors transacted 2.9 billion shares worth N8.1 billion in 3,940 deals, in contrast to the 200.4 million shares worth N5.5 billion transacted in 3,716 deals on Wednesday, showing an increase in the trading volume, value and the number of deals by1,331.88 per cent, 47.27 per cent, and 6.03 per cent, respectively.
Universal Insurance traded 2.7 billion shares due to an off-market deal to close as the most active stock and was followed by AIICO Insurance, which sold 14.0 million stocks, GTCO transacted 13.9 million equities, Sterling Bank exchanged 10.3 million stocks, and Fidelity Bank traded 9.9 million equities.
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