NIGERIA – The shareholders of Guinness Nigeria Plc have approved the payment of N4.8 billion, representing 320 kobo per ordinary share of 50 kobo as dividends.

The resolution was passed during the company’s 64th yearly general meeting held in Calabar, Cross River State on Thursday.

The Chairman of the company, Babatunde Savage, thanked the shareholders for their unflinching support, even as the brewing giant went through a challenging few years. 

He said: “The fundamentals of our company have not changed. We are confident that the growth we have witnessed in the early part of the 2015 financial year will mark a return to growth in spite of the headwinds of the economic and political environment which affected performance in recent years.”

During the meeting, shareholders said they were grateful that the company paid out dividends in spite of the tough operating environment. 

Speaking on their behalf, the National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Sir Sunny Nwosu said: “Dividends are due to us shareholders and we are glad that Guinness Nigeria is giving us something this year.

Admittedly it has dropped from what it has been in other years but we also have companies paying out five kobo dividends, so we are happy to receive this dividend payout from Guinness Nigeria Plc.”

Explaining the decision to pay out N3.20k dividends, Savage said the company would re-invest its profits to ensure long term profitability.

“We want to reduce the cost of borrowing and financial charges and instead use our funds to grow the company. We feel this is the best decision to take for our long term growth and I trust that I can rely on our loyal shareholders to continue to support us as they have done all these years.”

The Board of Directors of the company also approved the appointment of John O’Keeffe as the new Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the company, to take over from Seni Adetu, who bowed out to take on other challenges. 

Adetu was lauded by the shareholders, who gave him a standing ovation as they gave their rendition of the congratulatory classic ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow’. 

Prior to taking up this assignment, Adetu was the Managing Director of Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd., based in Accra, Ghana and East African Breweries Ltd., based in Nairobi, Kenya. 

O’Keeffe is joining the Guinness Nigeria team with over 20 years of Diageo experience having worked in Jamaica and the Nordics amongst others. He has been a board member of Guinness Nigeria for the past two years.

Guinness Nigeria recently released results for its first quarter of the 2015 financial year ended September 2014 with a six per cent increase in profit before tax.

The brewing firm is a Diageo company and it is the biggest British company by market capitalisation listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

November 18, 2014;