By Peter Egwuatu
UAC Plc has recorded capital returns of N7.1 billion for its shareholders in the audited financial year ended December 31, 2020.
The audited results for the year under review according to the dispatch sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE showed that revenue up three per cent from 2019 figure despite COVID-19 disruptions.
The Company recorded gross margin of 134 bases points, bps lower due to limited sales during the second quarter, Q2 2020, caused by restrictions to the movement of people and goods, as well as higher input costs.
Underlying operating profit was 26 per cent lower at N3.6 billion, largely on account of the paints segment.
Total profit for the period was N3.9 billion, a reversal from the N9.3 billion loss reported in 2019.
Earnings per share was 92 kobo, up from negative 183 kobo in 2019. Total dividend of 120 kobo per share was declared totalling N3.5 billion comprised of an ordinary dividend of 65 kobo and a special dividend of 55 kobo per share. This translates to a dividend yield of 13.8 per cent.
Subsidiary and associate company completed partial exit from UACN Property Development Company Plc and received N6.6 billion cash proceeds and 649,392,661 UPDC Real Estate Investment Trust, REIT units valued at N3.6 billion. UPDC and UPDC REIT are now classified as investments in associates.
Commenting on the results and corporate actions, Group Managing Director, Fola Aiyesimoju, stated:“UAC’s objective is to generate attractive long-term, risk-adjusted returns for our shareholders. I am delighted that the Board approved N7.1 billion in capital returns to shareholders via a mix of dividends and REIT units totalling N2.47 per share or a 28.3 per cent return at current market values.
Over the last 12 months, we faced a recession, civil unrest, and significant changes to the way we work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In spite of these headwinds, we executed our key priorities, implemented initiatives relating to UPDC, strengthened management, and returned the Group to profitability.
As part of the partial exit from UPDC, we received N6.6 billion net cash proceeds and 649 million UPDC REIT units valued at N3.6 billion. I am excited that we are unlocking value for our shareholders via a special dividend, as well as, the unbundling of UPDC REIT units which, if approved by regulators, shareholders and sanctioned by the court, will see UAC’s shareholders become direct holders of units in UPDC REIT.
Going forward, our focus remains on creating shareholder value and we continue to prioritise growth, scale, and simplicity to achieve this. We will explore acquisitions as an avenue to accelerate growth.”