Lafarge Africa Plc held its 61st Annual General Meeting (AGM) last Thursday June 4. At the meeting, shareholders of the company ratified the audited Financial Statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 and unanimously approved the payment of N1 dividend per share.
They also welcomed the new Chairman, Adebode Adefioye and thanked the former Chairman, Mobolaji Balogun for his outstanding leadership over the years.
The AGM, which held by proxy, in compliance with the guidelines of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and in adherence to the COVID-19 distancing guidelines had in attendance shareholders representing a broad category of individuals and institutional investors, representative of the Nigerian Stock Exchange, members of the board and executives of the company. The meeting was streamed live on YouTube enabling shareholders to observe the meeting.
Addressing Shareholders during the meeting, Mobolaji Balogun said: “Having overseen the progress in our transformation plan, the clean-up of our balance sheet, its return to robust profitability, streamlining of our operations, the renewal of our Board and the smooth CEO and CFO succession plan, it is with a deep sense of gratitude to God, that I feel fulfilled, in retiring as Chairman, knowing that the Board and our Company is in a very good shape”.
He further stated: “Lafarge Africa has significantly strengthened its balance sheet and is now in a vantage position to face the future despite the current challenges brought on by the global pandemic- COVID-19. The underlining strength of the company’s turnaround and cost-reduction strategy in FY 2019 and the divestment of the South African business have placed Lafarge on more solid financial footing even as the company continues to create more opportunities in the Nigerian market on the basis of its global capabilities in product innovation”.
Balogun, while thanking the Shareholders for their support over the years, said that the dividend pay-out was a worthy return on their investments and assured them of the dividend payment on the 3rd of June 2020 to Shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members as at 30th April, 2020, and who had completed the e-dividend registration and mandated the Registrar to pay their dividends directly into their Bank accounts.
Khaled El Dokani, the Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa Plc, also commended the Shareholders for their continued confidence in the company. He remarked: “Our shareholders have been supportive over the years and we look forward to more robust years in our collective commitment to improving lives as we implement initiatives that will keep us on a growth trajectory. We are very positive about Lafarge and its future’’
Bisi Bakare, a Shareholder of Lafarge Africa Plc remarked that the company has consistently introduced new quality products in the market. She noted that the 2019 dividend pay-out further reinforces the company’s long-term investment in Nigeria, providing value to all stakeholders over the years.
Another Shareholder, Sunny Nwosu on his part commended the outgoing Chairman for the giant strides recorded during his tenure especially in putting the company on the path to profitability as well as the fulfilment of the pledge to pay dividend to all shareholders. He further noted that Lafarge has been consistent in delivering value and the company is indeed a pride to its shareholders.
Balogun’s retirement from the Board of Directors becomes effective on the 3rd of June 2020 after the Annual General Meeting after serving for over fifteen (15) years, having joined the Board in March 2005. He served for the first ten (10) years as a Non-Executive Director in different capacities and was appointed Chairman in May 2015.The highlight of his tenure is the robust return to profit, N17.2 billion in 2019 compared to a loss of N1.5 billion in 2018.
Adefioye, the newly appointed Chairman was until his appointment a Non-Executive Director of the Company. Prior to his appointment, he was Chairman, Finance and Strategy Committee, Chairman, Board Property Optimization Committee and a Member of the Nominations, Governance and Remuneration Committee. He has also served on the Statutory Audit Committee and the Risk Management & Ethics Committee of the Company.
He has garnered over 32 years work experience in different industries and is a graduate of the University of Lagos with Masters of Science degree and also a member of the Institute of Directors and the Institute of Public Analysts of Nigeria. He was appointed to the Board of Directors on the 20th December 2012 and currently sits on the Boards of Wema Bank Plc as a Non-Executive Director and Eterna Plc as an Independent Non-Executive Director.