Shareholders laud the returns posted by Lafarge WAPCO in its 2011 financial year
Lafarge WAPCO has again display its strong footing in the nation’s construction sector with its 2011 financial scorecard for the year ended December 2011, showing a healthy growth across perimeters. The cement manufacturer grew its profit after tax by 73.4 per cent when it increased from N4.9 billion to N8.5 billion in 2010. Its turnover also increased from N43.8 billion to N62.5 billion. Based on these performances, the board of directors of the company recommended a dividend of 75 kobo per share for its shareholders, which payment date has been fixed for May 23, 2012.
Apparently satisfied with the scorecard, Eric Akinduro, general secretary, Ibadan Zone Shareholders’ Association, lauded the effort of the management of the company for posting profit and for rewarding shareholders despite infrastructural challenges under which it operates. “We sincerely appreciate the trend and are hopeful for more dividend and bonus issues next year,” he said.
The company’s performance also thrills Sunny Nwosu, national coordinator, Independent Shareholders’ Association of Nigeria, who attributes the profit to its array of innovations. To him, the company will reap more profit from Lafarge Readymix, a new solution that supplies concrete on construction sites. He added that the company is filled with innovations that make it distinct from competitors in the industry. “Site mixing tends to be time consuming compared with the speed of discharge of Lafarge Readymix concrete especially when larger volumes are involved. It is also cost effective compared to site mix looking at the total cost of material storage, hiring, waste among other expenses incurred in the process,” he explained.
Joseph Hudson, managing director of the company, hinges the development on a concerted effort by the company to improve efficiency in an increasingly competitive environment, growth witnessed in customer base and increase in demand for the products. “Our partnership with Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC, has boosted regular supply of cement to customers nationwide,” he said.
Hudson who stated this during the company’s investors’ forum in Lagos, added that customer orientation remains the driving force of the company’s operations. To optimise sales, Lafarge has re-evolved a dynamic sales force with customer satisfaction as its priority in order to serve better. He added that the company’s customers’ complaints management unit has been reorganised to ensure quick resolution of issues and complaints. The reorganisation is also said to have optimised the company’s depot strategy with the opening of 12 new depots across Nigeria in order to meet customers’ demand and improve on the volume of cement available in the market.
Jean-Christopher Barbant, country manager, Nigeria and Republic of Benin, expressed appreciation for the shareholders’ support for the company all through the years, especially during the construction of the Lakatabu plant. “Now that the plant has taken off, we are going to see even increased activities in our company, and this would be translated to our shareholders,” he said. Barbant added that over the years, the company has maintained a progressive dividend policy and assured shareholders that the company would not relent on this. “We will ensure that we steer the company in the direction of value generation to all our stakeholders and our future plans involve focusing and consolidating on key areas of health and safety, customer orientation and innovation,” he further assured.