…Approves N1.5bn dividend for shareholders
By Steve Agbota
Nigeria’s leading oil palm producer, Presco Plc, has said it is targeting an additional one million hectares of oil plantation as part of efforts to expand its business and create more jobs for Nigerians.
However, the company has approved a dividend of N1.5 billion for its shareholders, which amounts to 150 kobo per share for the year ended December 31, 2016, representing an increase of 50 per cent compared with N1 billion approved in the previous year.
Its increased by 50 per cent from N10.4 billion in 2015 to N15.7 billion in 2016 and profit after tax increased by 772 per cent from N2.5 billion in 2015 to N21.7 billion in 2016 owing to gains on biological asset revaluation.
At the company’s 24th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held recently in Edo State, one of the company’s shareholders, Peter Okoh, said, “this is one of the highest dividends the company has ever paid and we are very delighted with it. Our earnings and reserves have gone to an all-time high and we are in for a boom. Our reserve is N51.5 billion. I am going to increase my holdings in the company because I know the future is very bright.”
Speaking in the same vein, another shareholder, Goodluck Akpore, applauded the board and management of Presco for remaining on the path of profitability and sustained growth despite the economic downturn in the country.
Speaking on the company’s performance, Chairman, Presco Plc, Pierre Vandebeeck, said, “the company is still investing more and making bigger earnings. Our profits, disposable income, and new investments are growing up every time more and more and in the last six months, our share prices have doubled.
“In this year, we have planted close to 13,000 hectares of palm oil trees and our goal is to have one million hectares of palm oil plantation in the country. We have employed 6,000 people in the environment we operate and we would employ more when we plant more,” he said.
He therefore appreciated the government of Edo and Delta states for providing conducive environment for the smooth operation of the organisation, urging them to grant some form of tax incentives for new plantations where the trees are yet to commence fruiting.
Meanwhile, Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki, who spoke at the pre-AGM meeting of the company, congratulated Presco for its 2016 financial performance, assuring them of continuous support from the state.
He added: “I believe that Presco is the future of our country and palm oil is our next crude oil. When you have a company like Presco having a reserve on their balance sheet in excess of N20 billion, this shows that we are building a company that is strong in the agricultural sector.
“For us in Edo State, we would continue to support you and encourage you to invest more because one of our cardinal goals is to create a minimum of 200,000 jobs. We see Presco as a significant contributor to that goal. We will collaborate with you and give you more land, provided Presco helps us rebuild our forest.”