By Moses Ebosele –
Shareholders of Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc on Tuesday, in Abuja, approved quest by the board of the company to pay dividend of 20 kobo per share, amounting to N324.8million for the year ended Decenber 31, 2015.
Representatives of the shareholders who spoke at the company’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) also pledged to support ongoing diversification agenda.
Within the year under review, NAHCO’s turnover increased from N8.1billlion in 2014 to N8.5Billion in 2015, “despite the challenges of the global snd the Nigerian political economy”.
In his address to shareholders, Chairman of the board, Suleiman Yahyah explained that Profit Before Tax increased from N769.5 million in 2014 to N796.8million in 2015.
Yahyah said: “As reflection of the difficult operating environment, our cash reserved moved from N2.7 Billion to N2.2 Billion. Our company in 2015 remained profitable, maintained stability in its performance rations with a sustained reasonable buffer and cash reserves to meet short term challenges”.
According to Yahyah, NAHCO handled a total of 39,699 flights compared to 35,557 flight handled in 2014, an increase of 11 per cent.
He said: “However, this increase was made possible by domestic operation (non core) and the opening of the Owerri Station, which grew 564 per cent, and Enugu flights, which increased by 218 per cent within a short period.”
Explaining further, the board chairman said: “NAHCO in 2015 commissioned the Enugu Cargo warehouse, which we believe would go a long way in opening the South East regional economy to the rest of the world and enable Enugu to handle international cargo and enjoy international passenger services”.
Meanwhile, the total number of international passengers handled by the company within the year under review decreased from 3,311,024 to 3,099.111 passengers, “impacting negatively on airline load and yield factors”.
Yahyah admitted that the year 2015 was a difficult year, noting that the Naira exchange rate depreciated significantly in both the official and autonomous markets “while interest rate and unemployment continue to rise to level that have become unsustainable.
He told shareholders that at the sectoral level, “nearly all the sectors of the economy including energy and electricity, agriculture, construction, manufacturing among others suffered a shock and the lull was exchanged in the first quarter of 2016”.
National Coordinator Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) Sir Sunny Nwosu and National Coordinator of Proactive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PROSAN), Oderinde Taiwo, among others who spoke at the event pledged their commitment and support to the company’s diversification scheme.
Oderinde also used the opportunity to advise the management and board to give priority to welfare and training of workers as part of measure to sustain growth and development.
On diversification, Yahyah said: “The NAHCO Free Trade Zone (NFZ), which is our flagship subsidiary under our diversification programme, began to perform and show good result.
“The company is expected to break even in the 2nd quarter of 2016. It has already started attracting high quality international customer to facilities, which is development based the phase one of the master plan”.