Chairman of the Board of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, CON, has said that though Julius Berger had challenges in the 2021 financial year, the company excelled and overcame its challenges by dint of hard work and unflinching commitment to success from its Management and staff. Similarly the Managing Director, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter disclosed that the company performed strongly in the year under review extending a N2.50k per share dividend to shareholders.
Speaking at the 52nd Annual General Meeting of the company in Abuja on Thursday, the Chairman presented the Consolidated Financial Statements of the year under review saying that within the period, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc performed positively despite the numerous macro-economic hiccups, achieving exceptional financial performance, meeting targets for both revenue and cash flow. “One of those challenges, of course, is COVID-19, which remains ever-present in our personal and professional lives – with prolonged consequences. Unfortunately, we are unable to put this virus behind us just yet…. While 2021 was certainly a challenging year, more positively, it was also a dynamic and industrious year”, Mr. Sunmonu said, adding that, “within our core construction business, we made meaningful progress across our portfolio of private and public projects.”
The Chairman Julius Berger Nigeria Plc listed the projects to include the International Worship Centre, Uyo, the Office of the National Security Adviser in Abuja, the Bodo-Bonny Road in Rivers State, as well as infrastructure projects in Lagos and in Rivers States, where Julius Berger is supporting the State Governments to achieve remarkable infrastructure transformation.
The company’s Managing Director, Dr. Richter also listed some major projects successfully commissioned within the year under review to include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation office, several flyovers and civil infrastructural works in Port Harcourt; plus the Rehabilitated Control Towers at Tincan Island as well as the Lagos Port Complex.
Underscoring the shining example of the trust the Federal Government placed on Julius Berger, the Chairman emphasized the priority projects of the Government financed through the Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund, and executed by the company at an excellent pace “with our values, standards and capacities remaining core to our competitive edge”. He listed these projects as, the Second River Niger Bridge, the Abuja-Kano Road and the Lagos Shagamu Expressway
He stated that Julius Berger Nigeria Plc closed the year under review “with a Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate of 0.19, equivalent to our 2020 results”, and added that the various subsidiaries of the Group also made reasonable progress in 2021.
He summarized that the closing year was largely positive with many great accomplishments to celebrate. Positively affirming the company’s commitment to consistency and excellence Mr. Sunmonu said, “…this year 2022, we will continue to work hard, remain resilient and champion progress in regard to the potentials ahead of us…. We do not underestimate the effort or the endeavour it will take to achieve our vision, but we also do not underestimate our collective diligence and determination.”
Sharing an update on the company’s sustainability and inclusivity efforts, as well as on the company’s outlook for 2022 and beyond, the Managing Director, Engr. Dr Lars Richter explained that the three pillars of Julius Berger’s business strategy which have remained central to all its operations are: “the core business, group subsidiaries and diversification”.
In the same vein as the Chairman, the Managing Director firmly declared that “Julius Berger continues to stand strong, our values are firmly in place and our reputation for reliable and quality delivery remains unmatched…. And within our core business we continue to realize meaningful progress across our portfolio of projects as a foundation for our continued success and growth.”
On the business trajectory of the company, Managing Director, Lars Richter said Julius Berger continues to acquire new projects from major clients such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Lagos and Port Harcourt States, the Federal Ministry of Works & Housing and the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Richter also celebrated Julius Berger’s achievement concerning the recertification of its Quality Management in accordance with ISO 9001:2015, “…proving that our commitment to quality and process continues to stand strong”. He further stated that Julius Berger continues to “…bolster the foundations of its competitive edge, manpower and machine power, with the modernization of our Human Resources structure and strategy and the update and expansion of our equipment fleet; both major investments that will pay back in many folds, both today and in future.” To emphasize the worthy development, Richter, cited the company’s recent operational rollout of more equipment to augment the gains at the Abuja-Kano Road project.
On the performance of the company in 2021, the Managing Director said that, as a group, Julius Berger has achieved an overall exceptional financial performance in 2021 “meeting targets for both revenue and cash flow; enabling the company to extend a dividend payment to you, our loyal shareholders.”
Enumerating the specific challenges faced by the company in 2021, Dr. Lars Richter listed those stemming from the indirect impacts and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as “global procurement where prices for logistics remain elevated, shortages and delays remain a reality and as a result, prices for raw materials and goods continue to increase.”
Engr. Richter added that the war in Ukraine caused supply chain disruptions, with prices soaring for other essential building materials like steel, sand and wood just as it has led to increases in the price of crude oil. “For us in Nigeria, the higher cost of diesel combined with fuel scarcity has led to another layer of price increase… an extraordinary surge in transport costs”, he added. Dr. Richter also informed Shareholders that the greatest and most hard-hitting challenge the company continues to face is the sustained shortage of FOREX. He described forex scarcity as “…a critical crisis which has persisted with far-reaching negative impact on the economy generally and on Julius Berger specifically, as it creates major and substantial financial losses.” He, however, disclosed that management was able to put in place robust, resilient and business continuity planning, providing strategies to navigate the key risk.
Three Directors including Chairman Mutiu Sunmonu, CON, Mrs. Belinda Ajoke Disu, CAL, and Mrs. Gladys O. Talabi were re-elected to the Board of the company at the 52nd Annual General Meeting by Shareholders.
The highlight of the event was when Shareholders voted overwhelmingly for a N2.50k dividend per share owned compared to the 50kobo per share paid out in the previous financial year. This year’s dividend payout is the highest that the company’s shareholders have received in the last five years. Happy Shareholders overwhelmingly commended the company’s management for their excellent performance.