Shareholders Approve N100b New Capital Raising for Lafarge Africa

Shareholders of Lafarge Africa Plc have approved a resolution authorising the company to raise additional capital of up to N100 billion as the cement group continues to optimise its balance sheet.

At the annual general meeting in Lagos, shareholders mandated the board of directors of Lafarge Cement to raise additional capital through an offer of debt or equity or a combination of the two means from the Nigerian or international capital market.

Lafarge Africa recently successfully raised N131.6 billion through a rights issue, which was oversubscribed.

Shareholders also approved the payment of N13 billion as cash dividend for the 2017 business year, representing a dividend per share of N1.50.The approved dividend represents a 45 kobo increase per share on the payout for the 2016 business year.

Chairman, Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Mobolaji Balogun said the dividend payout was in appreciation of the support shown by the shareholders for the growth of the company.

According to him, the board is mindful of the support of all shareholders through the difficult but necessary journey to transform the company into a more agile and correctly financed business ready to benefit from the potential opportunities in Nigerian building materials market.

He assured shareholders that restructuring of the capital structure of the company largely completed through the past year would help to significantly reduce the cost of financing and currency translation risk.

He said the recent N131.6 billion rights issue has helped to significantly reduce the foreign exchange debt exposure by 50 per cent, noting that the board is already reviewing options to deal with the remaining foreign exchange debt.

Balogun pointed out that Lafarge Africa has been implementing a new route-to-market initiative aimed at supporting the anticipated growth in demand as the country gradually recovers from recession and as foreign exchange rates stabilise.

Country Chief Executive Officer, Lafarge Africa Plc, Michel Puchercos expressed optimism about the performance of the company in the current business year.

Source: The Nation

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