The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on Monday, admitted 1.88bn ordinary new ordinary shares to those existing in the name of Ellah Lakes Plc, following its acquisition of Telluria Farms Ltd.
At a ceremony to also introduce the newly appointed managing director, Chuka Mordi to the capital market community, the company announced its transformation from fish farming to an integrated oil palm company.
Addressing stockbrokers and newsmen at the facts behind the listing of the new shares, Frank Ellah, chairman of Ellah Lakes Plc lamented that the transaction brings an end to a tortuous period spanning five years when the company could not access its fish ponds and other assets as a result of a myriad of problems in the Niger-Delta.
Continuing, Wole Onasanya, the chief financial officer of the company explained that in the five-year period, Ellah Lakes recorded N96m cumulative loss, after stopping operations, following which the stock traded for a total of 72 days in all of four years.
For the purpose of the purchase consideration and stock issuance, he said Telluria Farms was valued using net asset value, while Ellah Lakes’ through the tangible assets (Premium to Book Value), hence the 1.88bn share consideration to Telluria Farms, which subsequently took management.
The company, he continued, will over the next three years play in the entire oil palm value chain, cultivating land spanning 30,000 hectares containing 70,000 immature trees in Edo and Delta states, up from its current 2,000ha.
Onasanya assured that the company hopes to build on the momentum by acquiring more land from both state governments, increasing it first to 10,000ha, while taking advantage of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) financing initiatives (READ MORE), all of which will begin to yield results in the next few months.
With the three-year period, he said the company is also targeting 20MT/hour capacity palm oil milling/refining.
On why the company opted to go into oil palm business, he explained that the country has a natural competitive advantage, given that in the 1970s, Nigeria was responsible for 40% of global oil palm output, a position he said can be reclaimed. He said the company hopes to take advantage of the government’s current focus on agriculture to diversify the economy away from crude oil; in addition to the favourable 35% tariff imposed on oil palm produce by the Muhammadu Buhari administration; besides the CBN’s concessionary lending for stakeholders in focal produce such as oil palm, cocoa, shea and cashew.
Due to the reorganization of its operations, Onasanya said the company does not see itself reporting a profit until 2023, selling 53,010MT of palm oil, up from 1,710MT and 8,55MT in 2021 and 2022, before hitting 95,974MT by 2025.
According to documents provided also, revenue and loss before tax are expected to hit N0.5bn and N0.7bn respectively in 2021; followed by N2.6bn and N0.3bn in 2022; before revenue will balloon to N16.5bn by 2023 when it will record the first profit. By 2024, Ellah Lakes’ new management forecasts revenue and PBT of N25.6bn and N10.1bn; as well as N30.8bn and N12.5bn, the next year.
Net asset for the period is projected to jump from N7.7bn in 2021 to N17.6bn by 2023; before rising to N32.1bn in 2025.
Also speaking, Mordi assured that there is a huge opportunity in the oil palm sector, including the fact that even with the big players in the country, Nigeria still imports 390,000MT as a result of the demand.
Welcoming the company’s board and management, chief executive of the exchange, Oscar Onyema expressed hope that the listing marks the beginning of a new era for the company after “the previous shut down of its operations due to militant activities and vandalization of the company’s assets.”
Represented by Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, of the NSE, Onyema commended ongoing efforts to restructure and diversify the company’s operations from fish farming to more competitive business in oil palm cultivation and processing.
“We believe that this new business strategy will position the company as a major player in the Agriculture sector,” he added, urging the management to leverage on the NSE platform to raise capital to fund future business expansion.
Photo caption: Photo caption: Chuka Mordi, Chief Executive Officer, Ellah Lakes Plc (4th left), sounding the closing gong during the listing of 1.88bn new shares of the company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday, June 17, 2019. With him from left, are: Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, NSE; Jamie Rixton, Chief Agronomist, Ellah Lakes Plc; Wole Onasanya, Chief Financial Officer of the company; Olumide Bolumole, Divisional Head, Listing Business, NSE; Enot Ogbebor, Non-Executive Director, Ella Lakes Plc (3rd right); Frank Ellah, Non-Executive Director (2nd right), Ella Lakes Plc and Kola Majekodunmi, Managing Director, MBC Capital Limited (right).