- N21bn Dividend: NB, Shareholders Clash
Shareholders of Nigerian Breweries Plc, NB, and the Board of Directors are on a collision path over the plan by the company to convert the N21 billion cash dividend earlier proposed by the directors to ordinary shares.
A cross section of shareholders, who spoke on the matter said they have resolved to vote against the motion when it comes up for approval at the Annual General Meeting, AGM, tomorrow.
According to them, the case has been reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, for intervention.
Investigation revealed that the directors would still push the proposal successfully given their majority stake in the event the face off leads to a pool. It is not yet clear if the regulatory authorities are stepping in to douse the tension.
The NB’s Board of Directors had proposed N20.5 billion as final dividend, amounting to cash dividend of N2.58 per share, for the year ended December 2016. But the company later said it will seek shareholders approval at the AGM tomorrow to convert the cash dividend to scrip issue. According to the company, the conversion will help it to consolidate on its balance sheet.
But speaking to reporters, the shareholders insisted that dividend payment is their right and must be paid once it is declared.
Sir Sunny Nwosu, former National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, ISAN, opined that the move is a ploy by the directors to increase their stake in the company as a first step towards eventual exit from the Exchange.
“We are totally against it because it is taking undue advantage of Nigerians. We are all aware that we are in recession and everybody needs every kobo; the directors do not need the dividend and, therefore, they want to use the scrip issue to increase their holding in the company. Whether it is one per cent or 001 per cent that the scrip issue will add to us as shareholders, it is not desirable to us.
“What they are saying is that they could not transfer their dividend. But they have been transferring their dividend for 70 years, so, why don’t they bear with us at this time of difficulty. It would have been better if they had not declared the dividend and allow the interim dividend to remain as the final dividend than declaring dividend and at the same time complaining that they want to plough back the money. It then means that the dividend declared can be classified as fake dividend,” Nwosu added.
Heric Akinduro, Chairman, Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association, said shareholders should be allowed to make a choice between converting their dividend to ordinary shares or going home with their dividend. “For those that have excess money, they can increase their holding, but for those that do not have, they should give them cash,” he said.
Agreeing with others, Patrick Ajudua, National Chairman, New Dimension Shareholders Association, NDSA, said: “We are totally against it. Once a company has declared dividend, it should keep to it. We are after our dividend because most of us have reduction in our purchasing power and the cash dividend will enhance our financial position and enable us to meet our obligations. This plan is not the best for us and that is why we are against it.”
Guinness Nigeria Returns to Profitability For the Quarter Ended September 2021
The financial results of Guinness Nigeria for the quarter ended September 2021 show a return to profitability for the Beverages Giant during the period compared to a loss made in the prior period.
This return to profitability was driven by a huge jump in revenue from N30 Billion in the same quarter of 2020 to N47.4 Billion in 2021, although the cost of sales also increased from N23 Billion 2020 to N32.2 Billion filed in 2021 thereby giving an increase in gross profit from N7 Billion in 2020 to N15.2 Billion in the quarter under review
Guinness Nigeria increased its marketing and distribution expenses during the period, marketing and distribution expenses rose from N4.6 Billion in 2020 to N6.5 Billion in 2021. This led to a huge jump in Operating profit for the period, operating profit jumped from just N586 Million in 2020 to N6.5 Billion in 2021. This culminated in profit for the period rising to N4 Billion from a loss of N841 Million posted in 2020.
The Chairman, Board of Directors of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Dr. Omobola Johnson maintained that the Company will keep up with its growth strategy to continue on its path of profitability. He said “We are confident that our strategy is comprehensive and robust. We are keen on making the right investments that will drive growth across the board and ensure our competitiveness, despite the challenging business environment. We thank our shareholders for their confidence in the Board and Management of our dear company and we are committed to ensuring that we sustain the momentum.”
Guinness Nigeria is the Nigerian subsidiary of the Irish brand Guinness. Its principal activities continue to be brewing, packaging, marketing, and selling of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, Guinness Smooth, Malta Guinness, Guinness Gold, Harp Lager, Smirnoff Ice, Satzenbrau Lager, Dubic Malt, Snapp, Orijin Spirit Mixed Drink, Orijin Bitters, Smirnoff Ice Double Black with Guarana, Orijin Zero, and Orijin Herbal Gin, Baileys Delight, Gordons Moringa among others.
FBNHoldings Renews Adesola Adeduntan Tenure, Appoints Nnamdi Okonkwo as GMD
The Board of FBN Holdings Plc (FBNHoldings) has appointed the immediate past Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc., Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo as its Group Managing Director.
Okonkwo’s appointment takes effect from January 1, 2022.
His appointment followed the retirement of Mr. U.K. Eke, who has completed his two-term tenure.
Uke, according to the board, tendered his Notice of Retirement on August 10, 2021
The Board further announced the renewal of the appointments of Dr. Adesola Adeduntan and Mr. Gbenga Shobo as the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of FirstBank respectively, for another term.
In the same vein, the Board announced the renewal of appointments of Mr. Kayode Akinkugbe and Mr. Taiwo Okeowo as the Managing Director and Deputy Managing Director of FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited respectively, for another term.
“Uke’s retirement takes effect at the end of the current Financial Year on December 31, 2021. Mr. Eke’s retirement follows from a 35 years’ career in financial services, strategy, auditing, consulting, taxation, process reengineering and capital market operations.
“FBNHoldings Board has also announced that Eke will be succeeded by Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, a focused and result-oriented top banker, who will assume office as Group Managing Director, FBN Holdings Plc effective January 1, 2022,” Seye Kosoko, the Company Secretary said
Okonkwo, the immediate past Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, brings to bear on the Board of FBNHoldings more than 30 years unbroken banking career spanning local and international experience. He has a wealth of experience in transformational leadership, business strategy development and visioning, innovative corporate governance and risk management.
He has led the transformation of banks, with the most recent being Fidelity Bank, where he led the management team for seven years to achieve remarkable results culminating in tripling profit and shareholder value.
Are There Better Ways to Help Consumers Tackle Social and Environmental Problems?
Techniques used by online microfinance platforms to spur user involvement could be useful in helping organisations to persuade people to behave in ways that benefit both society and environment.
Microfinance platforms have popularised the idea that ordinary people can become bankers to the poor. Communities of lenders get together every day to crowdfund microloans to disadvantaged micro-entrepreneurs by investing small sums of around only 25 dollars.
A new study digs into the universe of these microloan platforms to investigate how they manage to attract investors and perpetuate their enthusiasm for responding to social problems such as poverty.
Researchers from the Universities of Birmingham and Southern Denmark have identified two major ways through which platforms maintain and potentiate lending. Their findings are published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Firstly, the platforms assemble resources that function as an ‘apparatus of affirmation’ – providing first-hand evidence of impact that help consumers imagine the benefits of their actions, thereby creating a sense of empowerment.
Secondly, the platforms translate complex and distant social problems, such as poverty, into personal encounters between lenders and borrowers – creating a sense of connection and familiarity via photographs, stories and loan updates. This set of techniques is theorised as the ‘apparatus of relatability’.
Co-author Dr Pilar Rojas-Gaviria, Lecturer in Marketing at the University of Birmingham, comments: “Organisations such as microlending platforms, which strive to mobilise responsible consumers, face two key challenges – overcoming the powerlessness felt when facing daunting problems, and removing a sense of disconnection from ‘faraway’ problems.
“Supplementing the power of ideas and knowledge with personal stories that inspire hope and aspiration, affinity and connection are powerful techniques that could be useful in inspiring consumers to more actively participate in efforts to tackle social and environmental problems, such as climate change.”
Through storytelling, imagery, platform design and communication, the researchers note that online microlending platforms nurture a feeling that genuine change is possible through affordable actions. They also develop a sense of affinity and empathy among potential investors with aspiring micro-entrepreneurs, particularly those from Low-and Middle-income Countries (LMIC).
For example, the platforms publish loan requests to showcase individual borrowers with first names, photographs, and short biographies. This personalised strategy effectively frames microlending as a virtual encounter with a borrower and their story of micro-entrepreneurship. Celebrities, such as actor Natalie Portman, have over the past years helped the microfinance industry to promote microloans as an act of hope that empowers resourceful poor in their efforts to escape poverty.
Co-author Domen Bajde, from the University of Southern Denmark comments: “The advent of online microlending has expanded the pool of potential investors to anyone with internet access and $25 to spare.
“After learning that lenders were more interested in ’emotional returns’ rather than financial profit from their loans, platforms began to dramatise microlending as an act of aspirational hope and affinity toward the entrepreneurial poor.”
The research is also significant for charitable giving, noting that donors are more likely to contribute when they see their donations as a way of empowering the disadvantaged and when donations are experienced as impactful investments.
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