SHAREHOLDERS of Nestle Nigeria Plc have called on the Board and management of the company to consider issuing bonus shares to the shareholders at the end of 2018 financial year, even as they approved N21.8 billion final dividend recommended by the directors for the year ended December 31, 2017. Making the appeal at the company’s Annual General Meeting, AGM, in Lagos, they said that issuance of bonus shares would make the stock more available and allow more Nigerians buy into the company.
The trio of Timothy Adesinyan, National Coordinator (emeritus), Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association; Boniface Okezie, National President, Progressive Shareholders Association and William Adebayo, said that shareholders are willing to buy the share but its unavailability due to the ‘hold’ stance of the key investors has made that drive impossible.
“If you look at the share capital history, you will discover that bonus was last given in 2011. We are happy about the N42.50 per share dividend given this year, which is the best so far in the capital market this year, but we need more than that. People want to participant in trading the stock, but it is not available because your own (directors) shareholding is under lock and key. It is only our shares that we trade. So, we want you to think about giving us bonus shares,” said Boniface Okezie.
Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, the chairman, Mr. David Ifezulike, said that Nestle brands remained the leaders in their categories due to the efforts by the company to increase the focus of the marketing on driving penetration through the Popularity Positioned Products (PPP) strategy and educating consumers on the benefits of good nutrition.
According to him, the increase by 34 percent in sales in 2017 is attestation that consumers have continued to trust our brands.
He stated that despite the unstable and challenging business environment in 2017, the company delivered a solid result, recovery from the impact of the recession in 2016. “Revenue increased by 34 percent and profit after tax increased by 326 percent, a remarkable result considering the high operating costs driven by the increased prices of most raw materials and inputs,” he said.