By Samuel Adegoke
Odu’a Investments Limited has appointed four new directors into its board, just as it posted a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N890 million for the 2019 financial year.
The Group Managing Director (GMD), Mr Adewale Raji disclosed this while briefing newsmen at the conclusion of the conglomerate’s 38th Annual General Meeting at the group’s headquarters, Cocoa House, Ibadan, on Wednesday.
Raji also revealed that the board approved a sum of N320 million as dividends for its six shareholders – Oyo, Osu, Ondo, Ogun, Lagos and Ekiti states. With this, the company has paid a total of N1.53 billion cumulative dividends since 2015.
The GMD explained that four new directors were appointed within the last one year to strengthen the seven existing directors who represent each state. While two are executive directors, two are independent directors.
Explaining the reason behind the appointment which is partly a new idea in the 43-year old company, the board chairman, Dr Segun Aina, said independent directors were appointed in line with the new vision to make Odu’a a world-class conglomerate. He said the two independent directors are professionals who will offer impartial views on plans and issues since they are not representing any shareholder.
According to Aina, the PBT of N889.71 million was five per cent higher than that of 2018 which was N849.34 million.
He added: “The prudence of management and its budget monitoring processes coupled with increased efficiency and productivity reduced operating costs and boosted profitability of the company in the year under review.”
He also disclosed that the company has rejigged its vision and mission statements to reflect the new goals that will help reposition the company.
“With the new vision to be a world-class conglomerate and the ambitious financial targets, the board remains positive about the company’s future and will continue to work closely with the management and provide the needed oversight, guidance and strategic direction,” he said.
Raji assured shareholders of better performance in coming years, given the new five-year strategic plan being pursued by the company.
He said the strategy mapped out a new course to deliver on an audacious five-year growth plan.
“This entails consolidating on existing businesses and diversifying into high growth and profitable sectors of the economy to realize our strategic objectives of creating value for our shareholders and delivering social impact to the South West states,” he said.
The GMD spoke on some of the company’s new foray into the oil and gas upstream sector and agriculture with processing component. This include the conglomerate’s mechanized farm at Imeko, Ogun State, where 1,200 hectares of cassava is currently under cultivation with a technical partner that will feed into two 50tonnes per day modular processing plants for the conversion of cassava tubers into High Quality Cassava Flour (HQCF) and High Quality Cassava Starch (HQCS).
“There are also renewed organic growth efforts at our Wemabod Limited (Real Estate) and Glanvill Enthoven Insurance Brokers & Pensions Consultants Ltd (Insurance Brokerage),” Raji said.
On the company’s agribusiness initiative and commitment to addressing food insecurity, boost export earnings, job creation, accelerating industrialisation and lifting rural economy, Raji revealed that Odu’a has registered the South West Agriculture Company Limited (SWAgCo) to mid-wife the agriculture transformation of the South West strictly on sound private sector principles and strategic partnerships.
On outlook for the future, the GMD said the company will focus on critical essential sectors of the economy such as food and manufacturing, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, logistics, digital businesses which he said are all well covered in the new 2021-2025 Strategic Plan.