News Column

Unilever Assures Shareholders of Higher Profitability

May 20, 2014

Goddy Egene

The Chairman, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Chief Nnaemeka Achebe, has assured shareholders of the company that strategies are being put in place to ensure higher profitability that would lead to greater returns. He gave the assurance at the 89th Annual General Meeting of the company in Lagos.

Unilever reported a revenue of N60 billion in 2013, up from N55.4 billion in 2012. Profit after tax fell from N5.6 billion to N4.8 billion, while a dividend of N1.25 per share has been approved as against N1.40 paid the previous year.

However, Achebe, who is also the Obi of Onitsha, told the shareholders that going forward, the company would focus on long-term profitability.

"As we continue our sustainability journey, it is evident that we will have to sacrifice short-term profitability to build a more enduring business and fully harness the opportunities that the Nigerian market portends," he said.

According to him, while the company's results for the 2013 financial year were reflective of short-term effects of deliberate investment strategy to achieve a more sustainable future, the fundamentals remain strong.

He declared that the performance shows that the company is emerging as a sturdier consumer centric organisation, which is better fit to compete for consumers of the future.

The chairman said the 2013 performance was affected by the tough operating environment, saying the business environment continued to be challenging throughout 2013 with Nigeria experiencing further slide in the ease of doing business index.

He also said that power generation cost rose to astronomical heights, affecting not only the cost of production but also putting increased pressure on the disposable income of consumers.

According to him, the state of the country's infrastructure also showed no significant improvement in 2013.

Meanwhile, shareholders of Unilever approved the dividend and expressed confidence in the future of the company. They pledged to support efforts of the company aimed at making a leader in the industry. They, however, tasked the board on the appointment of a Nigerian as managing director.

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Source: AllAfrica

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