By Anthony Areh
Berger Paints Nigeria has recorded a revenue of N3.59 billion for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2019 as against N3.3 billion recorded in the preceding year, an increase of six per cent.
However, due to internal efficiency the company’s operating profit rose by 196 per cent between 2017 and the end of 2019 while it recorded an upward movement in all its key performance indicators in the review period.
Addressing the shareholders at 60th virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) by proxy on Wednesday, the Chairman, Mr Abi Ayida, attributed its performance to re-refocusing on production of its primary products, corporate foresight and innovativeness and huge investment in automated factory, among others.
Ayida, explained that the operating environment was challenging last year but the company was able to record upward movement across all its financial indices.
“The board and management faced increasingly hostile business-operating environment in 2019.
“However, due to your company’s growth strategy, we we’re able to deliver an impressive performance. A review of financial results shows improved performance across all financial indices.
“Our revenue grew by six per cent to N3.59 billion from N3.38 billion but the gross profit for the year grew by 12 per cent to N1.66 billion from N1.48 billion in 2018 while the profit for the year grew by 40 per cent from N320 million to an historic N448.7 million.
“The moderate growth in revenue was intended as deferred scale achievement to maintain our focus on operational efficiency.
“We believe the numbers justify this approach. Indeed, operating profit improved by 196 per cent between 2017 and end of 2019,” Ayida said.
Shareholders commended the company’s financial performance and its heavy investment in automated factory as an index of growth strategy.
They urged the Board and Management to increase the dividend of 25k per share next year and also map out strategy to cope with the impacts of COVID-19 which had become inevitable.
A Shareholder, Comrade Lawrence Oguntoye, described the company’s performance as excellent against the backdrop of tough operating environment last year.
He attributed the stellar performance to the company’s resilient, visionary and focused leadership.
“All financial indices are positive. This is a reflection of growth strategy borne out of resilient, visionary and focused leadership.
“It is commendable that while many companies are down-sizing, Berger Paints is increasing its staff strength.
“The Board and Management has performed magic wand in business profitability and sustainability,” Oguntoye said.
Corroborating him, another Shareholder, Mr Egunde Moses, who also commended the company’s performance, urged the board and management to put strategies in place for optimal performance in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Moses also advised the company to address the issue of unclaimed dividend and impacts of adulterated products on the business of paint manufacturers.
Responding, Ayida expressed gratitude to the shareholders and assured them of greater performance, irrespective of the state of operating environment.
“The lockdown has brought significant level of uncertainties to the global business environment. We have analysed COVID-19 and determined to brace up; our first approach is preservation of capital.
“This informed our decision to declare a modest dividend of 25k per share for the review period. Our position is that it is better to err on the side of prudence.
“Our huge investment in automated factory is part of our growth strategy. Our efforts shall continue to pay off; the company’s future is bright.
“We have always addressed the issue of adulterated products to the extent of prosecution and conviction of some people. We shall continue to do a lot more.
“As for unclaimed dividend, we cannot go beyond the limit of the regulator’s directives but we are always ready to implement any official policy on this,” he added.