By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
Nigerian Breweries Plc says that 100 per cent of its packaging materials are sourced locally to boost the nation’s growth and development.
Mr Jordi Borrut Bel, the company’s Managing Director, said this at its pre-Annual General Meeting (AGM) media conference in Lagos on Wednesday.
Bel said that some of the company’s packaging materials sourced locally were bottles, cans, corks and labels, among others.
He said that 47 per cent of agricultural raw materials such as sorghum, cassava were now sourced within Nigeria.
The managing director said that the company was committed to the 60 per cent direct target of locally sourced raw materials by 2020.
On the stable growth of the company in spite of economic headwinds, Bel
said that its ability to cut down on operational cost made the company to remain afloat.
He said the company deployed cost leadership to fuel the fight for market leadership as well as used it to drive scale for cost leadership.
According to him, the sustenance will enable the company to emerge the best cost performing breweries in Africa.
Reviewing the beverage industry in 2017 financial year, he said the industry had changed significantly over the last three years.
Bel said that with signs of improvements in the economy, 2017 bear market was relatively stable.
He said that the company invested about 710,000 Euros in social projects across the country in 2017 financial year.
The managing director, however, said that operating environment would remain challenging in 2018, noting that the brewer was well placed with its leadership brands as well as people to weather the storm.
Bel said that the company for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2017 recommended a dividend of N33 billion for its shareholders for the 2017 financial year, a 100 per cent pay-out ratio.
He said that the company had given out 100 per cent dividend payout as part of its dividend policy which was consistent with the firm’s robust balance sheet.
“It is a sign of confidence for the future and strong balance sheet which indicates our ability to cash year-on-year.’’
The recommendation, which amounts to a total dividend of N4.13 per share for the 2017 operating year, was highest in the history of the company.
The recommended dividend is inclusive of interim dividend of N8 billion, which is one Naira per share earlier paid by the company in Nov. 2017.
The company recorded a N33 billion profit after tax (PAT) for 2017, on a revenue of N344 billion.
This represents a 16 per cent increase in profit after tax from N28.4 billion in 2016, and a 10 per cent growth in turnover from N313 billion in the corresponding period.
“Whilst the foreign exchange situation improved in the course of the year, double digit inflation continued to impact both businesses and consumers.
Nevertheless, the company was able to end the year with improved results through continuous focus and execution of the twin agenda of cost leadership and market leadership supported by innovation”, Bel said.
Bel maintained that while there were some early signs of improvement in the macro-economic condition, “this is yet to be reflected in consumer confidence’’.
He said the company remained confident that “it has a clear strategy to deliver good return on investment to shareholders as part of its commitment to winning with Nigeria’’.