Chairman of Benue Cement Plc, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has promised shareholders of the company that it will declare better returns soon, given the favourable conditions in the cement industry. He spoke Tuesday at the company’s annual general meeting in Lagos. Premising his optimism on the 70 per cent supply gap in the sector for local producers to fill, he said the cement sub-sector had gained a very significant victory with the federal government’s ban on cement importation, and with the 70per cent supply gap to be made up by the local industry yet to be closed, cement companies have been presented a good opportunity to boost output and profit.
The Chairman was however sad over the fact that banks are not adequately supporting the real sector at the moment, saying that the cost of funds are still very high and that this was responsible to the fact that a good number of small and medium scale companies have had to shut down due to harsh economic environment.
Benue Cement Plc in the financial year 2006 recorded a turnover of N6.029bn from the N4bn of 2005, its negative shareholders’ fund position moved from a deficit of N1.35bn to a positive position of N8.35bn.
It made a post-tax profit of N3.10bn as against the N2.24bn recorded last year. However, due to the loss brought forward amounting to N4.25bn, it could not pay dividend. Nevertheless it was able to reduce its loss to N1.14bn which it hopes to wipe off in the next financial in order to be able to pay dividend.
Shareholders who spoke to Business Trust where positive about the future of the company, and approved the bonus share of one for every eight held as recommended by directors of the company.