24 June 2019

Nigeria: Dangote Cement to Open Export Facilities

Lagos — As part of moves to boost foreign exchange and capacity production, Dangote Cement will open export facilities in Lagos and Port Harcourt this year.

The company stated that the opening of export facilities would attract about $700 million foreign exchange into the Nigerian economy.

Also, Dangote Cement said it would continue to consider all strategic and financial options for the company to sustain its performance, saying that its 2019 outlook for was exciting.

The chairman of Dangote Cement, Aliko Dangote, at the company's 10th Annual General Meeting held in Lagos noted that "As an organisation, we are focused upon improvement in all areas and I wish to pay tribute to all our staff for their constant efforts achieving the vision of our board and executive team."

He recalled that only a few years ago, Nigeria was one of the world's largest importers of cement, saying that "Thanks to the effort of shareholders, we are continuing its transformation into an exporter of this basic but vital commodity."

Dangote said that later in 2019, the company would open export facilities in Lagos and Port Harcourt that would enable the company to export clinker, initially to its grinding facility in Cameroon and then to new grinding plants the company is building in West Africa, adding that the company plan to build new integrated factories in Nigeria and Niger that would strengthen its position as Africa's leading cement producer.

He explained that not only would these generate useful foreign currency for Dangote Cement to support other expansion projects outside of Nigeria, they would also help to increase the output of the Nigerian plants, saying that these would help to improve job creation and increase prosperity in Nigeria.

According to him, the plans of the company will definitely attract a $700 million foreign exchange into the Nigerian economy through exporting of the products, thereby helping the federal government and also the group in its other activities across Africa.

"We have a lot of on-going projects aimed at increasing capacity and by next year, we will not only export one million tons as we normally do now, we will be servicing both the domestic and other African countries from Nigeria. We will have a capacity of about eight million tons to export and that will generate a foreign exchange of about $700 million into the country."

The chairman of Dangote also said that "We will continue to improve our efforts in sustainability by applying the Dangote way to the seven Sustainability Pillars of our business culture and operations."

Meanwhile, shareholders at the AGM were all in high spirits and full of praise to the board and management of the company, after the sum of N16 was approved as a dividend on each 50 kobo share.

Shareholders through their respective association heads, lauded the decision to increase dividend payout by 52.4 per cent from the N10. 50 per share that was paid in the corresponding period of 2017.

Dangote expressed optimism on the prospect of the company, revealing that the company would be effectively operating in a minimum of 18 African countries in a short while by increasing the capacity of its Obajana Plant to 16 million metric tons, making it one of the biggest cement plant in the world.

"All these, surely will translate to an enhanced value appreciation to the shares of Dangote cement and more money in the pockets of the shareholders," he told the excited shareholders.

Speaking on the company's performance in 2018, Dangote described the year as the most successful for the company as it recorded an increased in cement sales by 7.4 per cent to 23.5 million tonnes and 11.9 per cent growth in revenues to N901.2 billion.

He further said, "Sales of cement from our Nigerian plants increased by 11.4 per cent to 14.2 million metric tons in 2018. Our pan-African operations contributed 9.4 million metric tons, level on 2017, with strong performances in Cameroon, Senegal and Zambia helping to offset weaknesses in Ethiopia and gas turbines now operating in Tanzania, we expect these two large plants to improve their performance in 2019, further increasing profitability."

Noting that the future looks very bright for the company, the group chief executive officer, Eng. Joseph Makoju, said the company in 2019, would focus on efficiency gains and achieving higher sales in domestic and export markets.

He said, "A major priority for us is to get these export terminals on stream so we can replace non-African imports in Cameroon, rake in foreign currency for Nigeria and increase the utilisation of our Nigerian plants."

National coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association (ISA), Chief Sunny Nwosu, expressed satisfaction at the performance of the company describing it as remarkable and unprecedented. He then advised the management not to rest on its oars as the shareholders would be expecting more in the next accounting year.

Beside the performance of the company, Nwosu also noted that the sustainability report of the company was very commendable and that nobody would not like to associate with a company like Dangote Cement with a track record of good corporate governance and sustainability development.

Dangote Cement has production capacity of 45.6 million tonnes per year across 10 countries in sub-Sahara Africa. The company has integrated factories in seven countries, a clinker grinding plant in Cameroon and import and distribution facilities for bulk cement in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Together, these operations make the company the largest cement producer in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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