By Nkiruka Nnorom
After deferring dividend payment for two years, C&I Leasing Plc said it is set to resume the payment at the end of the 2018 financial year.
Disclosing this at the company’s Facts Behind the Figures presentation on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Andrew Otike-Odibi, explained that the company did not pay dividend for those two years due to the need to strengthen its operation by ploughing back the profit into the business.
According to him, the business is stronger now and is in a better position declare a dividend.
“We appreciate the fact that the business has not paid dividend in the past two years. Last year, we were all very expectant for that to happen but it did not happen. One of the things we did last year was to set aside money to grow the business. It did not make sense for us to raise fresh capital and then begin paying dividend. We needed to plough back funds as much as possible, but that said, our plan is to pay dividend by the end of this financial year.
“The business is stronger now and cash-flows are better. Shareholders have been more than magnanimous because with the patience they have exercised so far, we will definitely want to reward them with dividend and given the way our share price is moving, they will also enjoy capital appreciation,” he said.
Speaking on the company’s performance for the half year ended June 30, 2018, Otike-Odibi said gross earnings of N12.8 billion was recorded, showing an increase of 11 percent above the same period in 2017. He explained that the gross income was driven by growth in the company’s rental income on the back of volume increase in its fleet and marine business.
“Profit after tax of N682.2 million, up 17.6 percent was achieved through a combination of cost reduction initiatives and optimal utilization of assets,” he said.
Looking ahead, he said the company would improve on cost optimization initiatives, maintain operating expenses growth rate below inflation rate, seek opportunities for growth to improve visibility to customers and potential business partners, digitize operations and entrench collaboration across all units.