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Saturday, 15 June 2013 00:00
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Okomu Oil builds largest mill in Africa

THE Okomu Oil Palm Company Plc has disclosed its plan to build the biggest oil mill in Africa, being one of its various steps to strengthen leadership position in the oil palm and rubber industries on the continent. This was disclosed by the company’s Chairman, Gbenga Oyebode, at the 33rd Annual General Meeting of the firm, held at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja.

According to him, the expansion of its oil mill, which will double its production capacity from 30t/hr to 60t/hr thereby making it the largest oil mill in Africa, has already commenced and is scheduled for completion before the peak in 2014.

At the meeting, the company also announced the payment of a landmark dividend of N7.00 for every 50k share to its shareholders for the year ended 2012. The dividend, the highest ever paid in the company’s history, is 29 per cent higher than that of N5/50k it paid to shareholders in 2011. The company also gave a bonus of one new share for every existing ordinary share of 50k held by each shareholder of the company.

The Chairman further announced the company’s ambitious expansion programme that will greatly boost yield from its oil palm and rubber plantations and grow the revenue of the company. The programme includes the planting of a total of 600 hectares of rubber in 2013 and another 700 hectares, which has already been cleared, will be planted in 2014. Also, the last 1,200 hectares of clearing is expected to begin in October 2013.

Meanwhile, the company will continue its replant programme with another 402 hectares of oil palm in 2013 and a similar amount to be replanted in 2014, among others.

Oyebode noted that company recorded a combined consolidated turnover of N10.1 billion in 2012, in spite of the lower-than-average commodity prices and trade volumes occasioned by the continuing worldwide financial crisis and uncertainty in the Euro Zone and USA which continued to influence negatively in consumer spending during the year under review.

“Commodity prices, as a result of this crisis, dropped significantly, especially rubber prices, and this, amongst others, had an influence on the company’s profits in 2012.

Notwithstanding these challenges, the company managed to perform admirably and this can be seen in the record highs achieved by our share price over this period,” the Chairman said, attributing the steady rise in the Okomu Oil share price and its nomination as one of the best performing companies on the stock exchange in 2012 to the confidence the market has in its Board and Management’s ability to steer the company in the right direction, even under these trying economic conditions.

He informed the shareholders that the company aspires to attain the highest levels of environmental conservation, health, education and safety to stem negative impact of its operations on staff and families and announced that the company became IS09001:2008 certified in 2012, which is an affirmation that its customers are guaranteed highest quality products.

He, however, observed that the company operations face significant security challenges on daily basis in form of disruptions by militants and kidnapping of its personnel, and attributed the company’s survival to the pro-active engagement of the management with local community, adopted by the company, informing the shareholder that its main focus in 2013 is expansion, assuring them of the company’s commitment to growth with continuous planting whilst looking for other opportunities across the country.

Responding on behalf of the shareholders, the National Coordinator Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu, expressed appreciation to the management for a job well-done and urged them not to rest on their oars in the years ahead to ensure that Okomu Oil remains on the part of growth.

Prior to the recent readjustment of its shares, the Okomu Oil Palm Company stood at N90.00 per share on the floor of Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE); it now stands at N45 per share - a price considered as very significant by experts for a company in the agro-allied sector.

Okomu activities embrace the cultivation of oil palm, refining of fresh fruit bunches, palm kernel processing for resale, rubber plantation and processing of rubber lumps to rubber cake for export.

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