Lafarge shareholders seek to raise N140 billion through Rights Issue at AGM

Lafarge cement distribution centre, AFP PHOTO/JACQUES DEMARTHON

The shareholders of Lafarge Africa Plc at the 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM) have approved the plan by the company to raise N140 billion through Rights Issue. The shareholders also approved the proposed N5.8 billion dividend by the Board and the plan by the company to liquidate Egyptian Cement Holdings and Nigeria Cement Holdings and transfer their assets to Lafarge Africa among other resolutions.

They also urged the company to ensure diversity and enough geographical spread in the proposed board restructuring. They supported the proposed reduction of number of the members of Board of Directors from 17 to 11 in the bid to cut cost.

Sir Sunny Nwosu, Patrick Ajudua and Chief Timothy Adesiyan, urged the company to ensure that different sections of the shareholders, especially Nigerians, are given adequate qualified representation on the Board.

The chairman, Mobolaji Balogun, addressing the shareholders said that the Rights Issue would reduce the company’s foreign exchange exposure by 50 per cent, including the dollar debt used for acquisition of Unicem. He stated that subscription for the offer is expected to open next quarter after all the regulatory approvals are secured.

The Chairman further said, Lafarge Holcim being the majority shareholder, would subscribe to its rights by converting the existing debt into equity. He noted that the remaining portion of the debt, with the support from Lafarge Holcim, has been refinanced and hedged for 12 months.

Country CEO, Lafarge Africa, Michel Puchercos, stated that the acquisition of Unicem in 2016 was in line with the company’s capacity expansion plans. He noted that doubling of the production capacity of the Mfamosing plant in Calabar to five million metric tonnes per annum has “contributed significantly to Lafarge Africa’s capacity and footprint in Nigeria.” This has increased Larfarge cement market in the South East and South regions with returns on the financials of the company.