- Board has approved the unbundling of UPDC REIT units, valued at N3.6 billion, to UAC shareholders
The United African Company of Nigeria Plc has reported an increase in its revenue to N81.4 billion by 2.7 per cent year on year in full-year 2020 from N79.2 billion in 2019 despite the COVID-19 related disruptions while its gross profits declined 3.8 per cent year on year to N16 billion as a result of limited sales during the strictest phase of the restrictions to the movement of people and goods (April and May), and higher input costs.
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UAC Plc, in its full-year 2020 audited filed to the local bourse announced that the revenue growth for the year was majorly driven by sales growth in the Animal Feeds & Other Edibles segment by 4.6 per cent y/y), the Packaged Food & Beverages segment (1.8%) and the Quick Service Restaurant Segment (1.8%). These segments, the company revealed, were deemed essential services during the period of stringent restrictions to the movement of people and goods to curtail the spread of COVID-19.
In the same, the company recorded a reversal in its total profit for the period to N3.9 billion from N9.3 billion loss reported in 2019. However, its profit after tax (PAT) from continuing operations were down by 35.3 per cent year on year to N3.5 billion as against N5.3 billion in FY 2019; while the underlying profit before tax appeared low by 23 per cent year on year at N5.1 billion in 2020 on account of lower operating profit and a steep decline in net finance income (-69.0% y/y) on account of lower investment income yields compared to the prior year. The decline in net finance income was offset by the share of profit of associates of N973 million earned from MDS logistics and UPDC real estate arms, largely attributable to non-cash, mark to market increase in the fair value of UPDC REIT.
Fola Aiyesimoju, the Group Managing Director of UAC Nigeria Plc, while commenting on the results and corporate action, said: “UAC’s objective is to generate attractive long-term, risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders. I am delighted that the Board approved N7.1 billion in capital returns to shareholders via a mix of dividends and REIT units totalling N2.47 per share or a 28.3 per cent return at current market values.
“Over the last 12 months, we faced a recession, civil unrest, and significant changes to the way we work due to the COVID19 pandemic. In spite of these headwinds, we executed our key priorities, implemented initiatives relating to UPDC strengthened management and returned the Group to profitability.
“As part of the partial exit from UPDC, we received N6.6 billion net cash proceeds and 649 million UPDC REIT units valued at N3.6 billion. I am excited that we are unlocking value for our shareholders via a special dividend, as well as, the unbundling of UPDC REIT units which, if approved by regulators, shareholders and sanctioned by the court will see UAC’s shareholders become direct holders of units in UPDC REIT.
“Going forward, our focus remains on creating shareholder value and we continue to prioritise growth, scale, and simplicity to achieve this. We will explore acquisitions as an avenue to accelerate growth,” the GMD stated.
Elsewhere, the company’s subsidiary and associate companies completed the partial exit from UACN Property Development Company Plc. Received N6.6 billion cash proceeds and 649,392,661 UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust units valued at N3.6 billion. This means UPDC and UPDC REIT are now classified as investments in associates.
Also, it successfully divested an 8 per cent stake in MDS Logistics Limited to its joint venture partner, Imperial Logistics. This reduced UAC’s ownership from 51 per cent to 43 per cent and MDS Logistics is now classified as an investment in associate.
Meanwhile, the company’s board has approved the unbundling of UPDC REIT units, valued at N3.6 billion, to UAC shareholders. The completion is subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals as well as the sanction of the court.
In another development, a total dividend of 120 kobo per share (N3.5 billion) comprised of an ordinary dividend of 65 kobo and a special dividend of 55 kobo per share was proposed by the company to its shareholders. This translates to a dividend yield of 13.8 per cent.