NIGERIA – Nestle Nigeria’s shareholders have approved US$60.38 million final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2017 as recommended by directors, calling on the company to issue bonus shares to the shareholders at the end of 2018 financial year, reported the Vanguard.

According to them, the issuance of bonus shares would make the stock more available and allow more Nigerians buy into the company.

They argued that key investors who are holding on the shares have made it impossible for the willing shareholders to buy them.

In March, Nestle announced that revenue for the full year 2017 grew by 34% to US$674 million as a result of ‘multiple factors; the continued loyalty and trust of our consumers in our brands’.

The company then said it was committed to delivering value to shareholders by providing high quality nutritious products in regard to the changing consumer wants.

“If you look at the share capital history, you will discover that bonus was last given in 2011.

We are happy about the US$0.12 per share dividend given this year, which is the best so far in the capital market this year, but we need more than that.

People want to participate in trading the stock, but it is not available because your own (directors) shareholding is under lock and key.

It is only our shares that we trade so, we want you to think about giving us bonus shares,” said Boniface Okezie, National President, Progressive Shareholders Association.

Mr. David Ifezulike, the chairman said that Nestle brands remained the leaders in their categories due to the efforts by the company to increase the focus of the marketing on driving penetration through the Popularity Positioned Products (PPP) strategy and educating consumers on the benefits of good nutrition.

He said that the 34% increase in sales in 2017 was a prove for consumers’ confidence in its brands, with revenue rising by 34% despite of the unstable and challenging business environment in 2017 as it recovered from the impact of the recession in 2016.

“Revenue increased by 34 percent and profit after tax increased by 326 percent, a remarkable result considering the high operating costs driven by the increased prices for raw materials and inputs,” said Ifezulike.