Lafarge projects positive long-term outlook despite weak economic index

Lafarge Africa Plc expects a positive long-term corporate outlook for the cement and construction market in Nigeria, despite the impact of the Coronavirus Disease on the sector’s H1 2020 performance.

The Chief Executive Officer of Lafarge Africa Plc, Mr. Khaled El Dokani, said this at the virtual “Facts Behind the Figures” session on the Nigeria Stock Exchange.

He said the implementation of the Lafarge Africa “Health, Cash and Cost Initiative” would continue to deliver improvement in the company’s performance.

The Lafarge Africa CEO said the company remained focused on emerging the leader of innovative building and solution construction in Nigeria, amid the highly competitive environment.

In terms of strategy, El Dokani noted that the company was playing big in the area of sustainability, leveraging the circular economy, climate and energy, environment, people and community.

He said, “Our route-to-market strategy has proven to be effective, particularly our expanded distribution network, which proved very valuable during the peak of COVID-19 lockdown. We have steadily expanded our retail footprint in our core markets. The recent re-launch of our Supaset brand has continued to gain traction with our customers, especially with the block makers.”

In the area of Q2 2020 financials, El Dokani highlighted the following: -67.2 per cent decline in net financial costs, -59.3 per cent decline in net debt, -5.1 per cent decline in revenue due to the pandemic.

Speaking on H1 2020, the CEO attributed the robust performance to the Nigerian operations, with the retail segment dominating over 90 per cent of its activities.

Looking at its current financial position, he said Lafarge Africa was not in a hurry to access the market for capital raising, as it was in a stable condition at the moment.

“We will continue to maintain a healthy balance sheet while prioritising the health of our people, communities and other stakeholders,” he said.

Giving the remarks on behalf of the CEO of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, Mr. Oscar Onyema, the Divisional Head, Listing Business, Mr. Olumide Bolumole, commended Lafarge for its drive towards improved corporate governance and value creation for investors in the market.

On his part, the doyen of the dealing members in the NSE, Alhaji Yusuf Rasheed, said the Nigerian investing public supported Lafarge over the years, which the company reciprocated by paying dividends.

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