Mauricio Alarcon, the managing director and chief executive officer of Nestle Nigeria Plc., on Tuesday assured shareholders that the company would continue to churn out high dividends as the management has prioritised sustainable growth and profitability in its operations.
He gave the assurance at the company’s 2019 and the 50th annual general meeting (AGM) held at the Muson Centre in Lagos to consider the 2018 financial year performance presented before the shareholders. The meeting saw shareholders approving the payment of N38.50 kobo as dividend per ordinary share, for the financial year ended December 31, 2018.
The CEO thanked the shareholders for their support and stated that the company was dedicated to delivering high quality and tasty nutrition choices to consumers.
Mauricio Alarcon said, “We are pleased with the sustained growth of the company, the loyalty of consumers and the discipline and dedication of our people to provide tastier and healthier foods and beverages.
“Looking forward to the rest of 2019, we are optimistic that our current business model will keep delivering satisfactory results to our shareholders and to the society by providing high quality and affordable nutritious products which meets the needs and preference of our consumers will remain our priority as we help build thriving, resilient communities through sustainable local sourcing and continuous product innovation.”
The company’s chairman; David Ifezulike, also explained to shareholders that 2018 was a year of significant results in the face of unpredictable changes in the business environment. Adding that the influx of competing products presented both a challenge and opportunity for innovation to continue to delight consumers. Stressing that despite the challenges in 2018, revenue grew by 9 percent and that profit after tax was 28 percent higher than the company achieved in 2017, adding that the company was looking towards 2019 with cautious optimism.
Ifezulike said, “In 2018, economic activities remained relatively weak, especially in the fourth quarter, but despite the numerous challenges, our revenue increased by 9 percent and profit after tax were 28 percent higher than the previous year. We are pleased with this result considering the high operating cost driven by the increase in prices of raw materials and cost of doing business.
“We will continue to leverage our research and development capabilities to delight our consumers while creating value for our business and everyone across our value chain and most importantly, we will work even harder to make sure that our high dividend payouts are sustainable,” Ifezulike said.
The meeting also afforded shareholders opportunities to comment or raise issues concerning the company operations and how to improve on its market shares. A shareholder representative, Okezie Boniface, asked the management to look towards decentralizing its operations and it should look to invest in the eastern part of the country.
Sunny Nwosu, another shareholder, applauded the management and board of directors for the impressive financial result but implored them to do better in the coming year.
Meanwhile, Nestle Nigeria Plc, recorded a 5 percent increase in its revenue for the first quarter ended March 31, 2019, with a 49 percent growth in profit after tax during the period under consideration. The company manufactures and markets a range of high-quality brands, including Nestle Pure Life, Golden Morn, Milo, KitKat, Maggi, Nescafe and Cerelac.