Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO aviance plc ) has rewarded its Shareholders with a cash dividend of 20 kobo and a bonus of one new share for every 10 for the year ended December 31, 2014.
This is coming even as the company is set to benefit from its free trade zone subsidiary,NAHCO FTZ,which commenced operations last quarter of 2014. NAHCO ended 2014 with a marginal increase in revenues of N8.133 billion, and profit after tax of N568 million, compared with N8.09 billion and N817 million in 2013 respectively.
The company said that the three months Ebola virus scare which reduced the movement of passengers and cargo flights across West African airports by major international carriers affected its bottom line. Also, the company’s ratios withered due to the general high cost of operations, the slowdown in the economy and major macro -economic volatility proceeding the 2015 elections.
The results were most impacted by pre-operating expenses and sunk cost made in NAHCO FTZ, reducing its overall profitability and performance compared to 2013.
The Managing Director of NAHCO, Mr Norbert Biedermann, while commenting on the results said that in spite of the unplanned difficulties and the several health and safety flight cancellations and limitations in travels and travel warning coupled with the warehouse closure, “we achieved marginal growth of per cent in a very difficult year, and expressed optimism that the Nahco Group is on course to deliver its strategic medium term growth and profitability objectives for 2015 and beyond as activities have since stabilized and we see improvements income streams from subsidiaries and efficiency improvements in the core business and new routings demand for the second quarter that will gradually add up to group performance.”
He confirmed that while investments in the FTZ will continue in 2015/2016 “we will begin to reap the fruits of such investments within this year in a sustainable manner.”
NAHCO’s bonus declaration plus a cash dividend is the first double corporate action by a listed company and reflects company’s continuing strategy for cash retention as development and diversification is deepened in tight market conditions.
Speaking on the results, Group Chairman of NAHCO, Suleiman Yahyah had told shareholders in Abuja last May , that a 25-year master plan was being developed for implementation by NAHCO FTZ which will triple its cargo handling capacity in the short term and create a long term pipeline for both its expansion of revenues and consolidate its diversification strategy while supporting Nigeria’s exports earnings and trans-shipments capabilities across the west Africa sub region- The FTZ is projected to attract over $500million in new investments in next five years.
“NAHCO FTZ will afford us the opportunity to import goods in a borderless environment. It will also improve Nigeria’s trade facilitation and competitiveness and give us a unique platform to service our value-added aviation-clients and related business. The platform will enhance significantly air traffic into the country and make NAHCO Plc a diversified business with highly increased cargo volumes, supporting light packaging industry, light retailing activities within the airport infrastructure. We also plan that when the FTZ comes into full operation in 2016 some of the exports business that we lose to our neighbouring counties would revert to us, thus creating jobs and economic multipliers for Nigeria,” Yahyah said. Many shareholders of the company had expressed excitement and support over the new subsidiary, the first FTZ platform for Cargo Hubbing in Lagos airport modelled like the Dubai ,Singapore and Shannon airport Free trade zones.