By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.
Odu’a Investments Limited on Wednesday paid N175million dividends to the five owner states of Oyo, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Ekiti as well as declaring a profit before tax of N597 million.
The cheques for the dividends were presented to representatives of the owner states during the 34th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the conglomerate held at its Cocoa House headquarters.
Speaking with journalists immediately after the AGM, the Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Adewale Raji declared that Odua Investment paid the higher dividends as a reward for the support of shareholders in the challenging operating environment in the year under review as well as an assurance of better days ahead.
Mr Raji while appreciating the conglomerate’s shareholders and the Board for their support for the feat achieved spite of a three per cent slide in profit before tax emphasized that Odua Investment was able to maintain financial stability in the face of the harsh economic environment with the Management and Board focused in the strategies laid out to achieve efficiency.
“We remained focused to our strategies and were committed to our ideals and goals. Despite the very turbulent time that we are all facing, we ensured the highest level of efficiency and we kept our eyes close to the ball, not dropping it. I think we have been able to have this impressive result because our shareholders have made it possible for us,”Mr Raji said.
The GMD stressed that the time was challenging, saying, “I must confess. Income was very tough. We managed and ended up with a reduction in income”. In actual fact, our profit is lower by three per cent compared with the previous year”.
“We all know all the challenges in the economy today in terms of disposable income to people and patronage. These are areas which affected us seriously. All the same, we are managing business. Unless a business demonstrates profitability, there is nothing you can tell shareholders or stakeholders. We believe that with our focus and commitment, all our other plans will materialize and then we can start to demonstrate growth.”
The Odua Investment GMD, however hinted that with the present economic situation in the country, the conglomerate was working towards diversifying into agro-processing industry to improve its revenue generation .
Mr Raji pointed out that Nigeria can best overcome the present economic recession through diversification and patronage of local products,saying, Odu’a was already working on the idea of an agro-processing factory that would be unveiled next year.
“We want to sustain what we did in the past and introduce new thing that could generate more revenues. We are working assiduously on this. We just laid the foundation of a housing estate in Ibadan. We are trying to add to our private portfolio and we are going into agro-processing.”
Secretary to the State Government (SSG) of Osun, Alhaji Moshood Adeoti while speaking for the owner states governments, lauded the Odua Investment management for paying higher dividends in spite of lower profit.
The SSG then charged the company management not to rest on its oars.
By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan.