UACN Recommends N0.65 Dividend, Amidst 79% Profit Slide

Directors of UACN Plc, one of the nation’s foremost conglomerates, at the weekend presented its audited financials for the year ended December 31, 2017, indicating a 79% net profit cut from the sluggish growth in turnover for the year.
The board have, nonetheless, offered a dividend per share of 65 kobo from Earnings Per Share of 50 kobo, compared to the 100 kobo paid from EPS of 195 kobo for 2016. The proposed dividend is slated for payment on June 21, to those shareholders whose names appear on the register when it closes on May 14, subjected to approval at the annual general meeting slated for June 20, 2018. Ahead of that, the register of members closes between May 15 and 18, 2018 (both days included).
According to the financials, turnover could only limp 8% from N82.572bn, compared to the previous N89.178bn; the food and beverages business contributing a princely N71.582bn; followed from afar by the paints business (Chemical & Allied Products), N9.424bn; followed by logistics, N4.118bn; followed by N3.879bn from the real estate subsidiary; and N172.399m from “others.”
Cost of sales climbed to N73.221bn from N65.639bn; as gross profit dropped to N15.956bn from N16.932bn.
Other operating income dropped slightly to N3.528bn from N3.818bn helped mainly by the N1.956bn profit on sales of investment property; selling and distribution expenses rose to N4.595bn from N3.155bn; just as administrative expenses increased slightly from N6.511bn to N6.898bn; as other operating losses reduced from N2.443bn to N959.296m, the bulk of which were the impairment of receivables in UPDC joint ventures (being impairments in the books relating to UPDC Metro City Ltd, First Restoration Development Company Ltd and Pinnacle Apartment Development Ltd) of N428.14m, down from N747.907m, followed by the negative net fair value loss on investment properties of N333.601m, which did not exist in prior year. There was also the drop in additional losses made post-completed projects from N1.695bn in 2016 to N150.463m.
Operating profit dropped by 19% from N8.639bn in the corresponding period of 2016 to N7.031bn, helped by the N3.992bn from food and beverages; followed by N2.118bn; and N1.434bn; while others recorded a N1.167bn loss for the period. Finance income (interest income on short-term bank deposits) stood at N1.861bn from N1.561bn; even as finance cost soared to N6.185bn from N2.922bn, comprising the N5.984bn interest on bank loans, which jumped from N2.699bn, while interest on bank overdrafts reduced to N199.773, from N221.438m; bringing net finance cost jumped to N4.324bn, representing a 218% rise above the N1.361bn for the prior year.
Profit before tax suffered a decline from N8.368bn to N3.246bn, representing a 61% drop; out of which the food beverage yielded N2.511bn; ahead of the N2.302bn from paints; N840.405m from logistics. While real estate suffered N3.057bn loss, others recorded N649.4m profit just as the 7% drop in income tax from N2.074bn to N1.921bn, resulted in in the slide from net profit of N6.293bn reported in the 2016 financial year to N1.324bn.
Loss after tax for the year from discontinued operations fell to N361.562m from N627.157m, a decline of 42%; while profit for the year stood at N969.826m, down 83% from N5.666bn.
Net cash generated from investing activities stood at N7.874bn from N2.71bn; net cash flow used in financing activities rose to N8.934bn from N1.869bn