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Companies Counter Inflation with 18.35% Salary Surge to N29.45 Trillion

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Amidst a challenging economic landscape and soaring inflation, companies in Nigeria exhibited resilience by increasing salaries for their employees by 18.35% to N29.45 trillion in the first half of 2023.

This notable rise, as reported by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), contrasts with the worsening economic conditions faced by workers grappling with higher prices and an elevated cost of living.

The NBS’s ‘Nigerian Gross Domestic Product Report (Expenditure and Income Approach): Q1, Q2′ reveals that compensation of employees, encompassing total remuneration in cash or kind payable by employers, escalated from N24.88 trillion in H1 2022 to N29.45 trillion in H1 2023.

Despite the economic challenges, companies, including SMEs, bolstered their operating surplus to N67.56 trillion, reflecting an 11.93% increase from the N60.36 trillion recorded in the first half of 2022.

The operating surplus, defined by the NBS as the profit remaining for firms after covering costs, serves as a critical metric for gauging economic performance.

The surge in salaries, outpacing inflation, underscores the commitment of businesses to sustaining employee well-being amidst the economic headwinds.

As inflation rates soared to 22.79% by the end of the reviewed period, companies navigated financial complexities to prioritize employee compensation, acting as a counterforce to the adverse effects of inflation on workers’ purchasing power.

The World Bank’s prior warnings about inflation eroding the minimum wage and increasing poverty underscore the significance of businesses’ efforts to shield their workforce from the economic downturn.

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Company News

Lafarge Africa Board Proposes N30.60bn Dividend, Lower Than Previous Year

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Lafarge Africa - Investors King

Lafarge Africa’s Board of Directors has recommended a dividend payout of N30.60 billion for the year ended December 2023, a reduction from the previous year’s dividend.

The proposed dividend translates to N1.90 per unit of shares and awaits approval from shareholders at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company.

In a corporate announcement filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Lafarge Africa disclosed that the proposed dividend is payable from the Pioneer Reserve to shareholders registered as of March 28, 2024.

Despite the lower dividend proposal, Lafarge Africa recorded an increase in revenue to N405 billion, marking an 8.6% rise from the previous year’s N373 billion.

However, the company’s post-tax profit experienced a 4.7% decline, amounting to N51.14 billion, attributed mainly to the devaluation of the naira.

Lolu Alade-Akinyemi, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa, expressed confidence in the company’s performance despite economic challenges.

He highlighted the growth in revenue and an improved operating margin, despite pressures from inflation and currency devaluation.

Looking forward, Lafarge Africa remains optimistic about the construction sector’s growth in Nigeria, despite prevailing economic challenges.

The company aims to leverage its market opportunities while maintaining a focus on sustainability and stakeholder value.

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Merger and Acquisition

EnjoyCorp Limited Secures Strategic Acquisition of Champion Breweries Plc

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Champion Breweries

EnjoyCorp Limited, a conglomerate known for its ventures in food, beverage, and hospitality, has successfully secured a strategic acquisition deal with Heineken B.V.

The agreement entails EnjoyCorp acquiring 100% of Heineken’s shareholding in The Raysun Nigeria Company Limited, which holds an 86.5% stake in Champion Breweries Plc, a prominent regional brewer listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

The transaction, subject to regulatory approvals, is anticipated to conclude in the second quarter of 2024.

Heineken will extend its support to Champion Breweries for a year post-acquisition, ensuring a seamless transition of ownership.

This acquisition marks EnjoyCorp’s strategic entry into the beverage sector, aligning with its vision of catering to the diverse tastes of the African consumer market.

By integrating Champion Breweries as an anchor subsidiary, EnjoyCorp aims to strengthen its foothold in the industry.

EnjoyCorp, known for its mission to enrich life’s moments through quality brands and sustainability, sees this acquisition as a pivotal step in its journey toward transformative growth.

With a focus on innovation and community engagement, EnjoyCorp endeavors to inspire consumers to cherish life’s moments responsibly.

The acquisition underscores EnjoyCorp’s commitment to shaping the future of the beverage industry in Africa.

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Apple’s Ambitious Electric Car Effort Comes to an End, Stock Rises

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Apple Inc. has announced the termination of its decade-long effort to develop an electric car, marking the end of one of the company’s most ambitious projects.

The decision was disclosed internally on Tuesday, surprising nearly 2,000 employees involved in the project, according to sources familiar with the matter.

Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams and Vice President Kevin Lynch, who spearheaded the effort, informed staff that the project would wind down.

Many employees from the car team, known as the Special Projects Group, will transition to Apple’s artificial intelligence division under executive John Giannandrea, focusing on generative AI projects.

The news brought a sense of relief to investors, with Apple’s stock climbing approximately 1% to $182.63 at the close of trading in New York.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Inc., also celebrated the decision, signaling approval with a post on social media.

The end of the electric car project, named Project Titan, is a significant shift for Apple, which initially aimed to produce a fully autonomous electric vehicle with advanced features.

However, the endeavor faced challenges from its inception, including leadership changes and strategic shifts.

Despite investing substantial resources and talent, Apple found itself grappling with a cooling market for electric vehicles, sluggish sales growth, and manufacturing hurdles.

The company explored various designs and tested self-driving technology extensively but ultimately struggled to achieve breakthroughs in the competitive automotive industry.

Apple’s decision underscores its strategic shift towards prioritizing generative AI projects over automotive ventures.

While the end of the electric car project marks a notable chapter in Apple’s history, it signifies the company’s adaptability and focus on areas with long-term profitability potential.

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