Shareholders of Dangote Sugar Refining Plc, on Tuesday at the annual general meeting (AGM) of the firm lauded it for its performance last year.
National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) Mrs. Bisi Bakare said some companies are struggling with the payment of dividends, Dangote Sugar Refinery has been consistent in taking care of shareholders.
Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, decried the negative impact of Apapa Wharf traffic situation which has impacted negatively on the performance of companies as they struggle to move finished goods and raw materials to distributors and warehouses.
Responding, the Chairman of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Aliko Dangote restated the resolve of the company to soar to greater heights and create more values for stakeholders despite the plethora of challenges in the economy.
He said the company has posted a profit before tax of N34.6billion with a turnover of N150.4 billion for the 2018 financial year. He lamented continuous smuggling of sugar into the country.
Dangote said the company was able to post an appreciable resilient performance despite the gloomy economic outlook at the dawn of the previous year.
He told the shareholders that the sugar giant was able to weather through the economic downturn and advanced significantly in 2018 because it pursed aggressively its backward integration plan aggressively by focusing on issues that have been bogging down the plan and subsequently adjusting the timelines.
“2018 was quite a challenging year for the Company with several negative activities, which include influx of smuggled sugar into the key markets nationwide coupled with the Apapa traffick gridlock which continues to affect evacuation of products from the refinery”, Dangote stated.
The Company Chairman explained that prior to the traffic logjam at Apapa, the company could move up to between 60 and 70 trucks out of the refinery but that since the problem started, it could hardly move up to 20 trucks out of the Sugar refinery daily.
Dangote stated that the company had to revise its backward integration timeline to mitigate against the unforeseen challenges noting that the first phase of the plan include the rehabilitation and expansion of the Savanna Sugar, the Lau/Tau project in Taraba state and the Tunga sugar project in Nasarawa state.
According to him, Savanna Sugar remains the only company producing sugar from sugarcane grown in the country and had just ended its 2018/2019 crop season. “Rehabilitation of the land and its infrastructure for improved yield and output is still on-going.
Dangote disclosed that the first phase expansion of the Savanna Sugar capacity from the current 3,000 Tons of cane per day (TCD) , to 3,500TCD has been completed while the subsequent increase of production capacity to 6000TCD has commenced and is expected to be completed by 2020 “as well as the installation of the new 12,000TCD factory that will be fed with the increased cane supply”.
“At Tunga, activities are well underway at 68,000 hectares sugar projects site. Activities ongoing at the project site include the establishment of the cane seed nursery, housing and other basic infrastructure with the project currently employing 325 staff with potential for increase towards the fouth quarter of the year”, Dangote stated.