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Lafarge Africa: Impressive revenue, profit amid severe competition in cement industry

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By Philemon Adedeji

Lafarge Africa plc reported an unbroken performance in most parameters in its unaudited financial statement for the period ended June 30, 2022 and maintained its position as one of the leading cement manufacturing companies in Africa.

The company has once again put up a remarkable performance in the year under review when compared with the company’s performance in half year (H1) 2021 result and accounts.

Also, Lafarge Africa announced N186.6billion revenue in H1 2022 from N146.02billion in H1 2021, representing an increase of 29 per cent.

The breakdown of Lafarge Africa’s revenue showed 28.2 per cent increase in cement sales to N181.09billion in H1 2022 from n141.27billion in H1 2021, while revenue generated from aggregates and concrete rose by 45.3 per cent to N5.2billion in H1 2022 from N3.59billion reported in H1 2021.

In addition, Lafarge Africa reported N276.7million revenue from other products in H1 2022, representing an increase of 73.8 per cent from N159.21million in H1 2021.

Other products represent revenue earned from the sale of mortar for the company, while sales of mortal and power for the Group.

In terms of capacity, Lafarge Africa has a current installed cement production capacity of 10.5 metric tonnes/pa and its cement operations in the South West (Ewekoro and Sagamu in Ogun State), North East (Ashaka, in Gombe State), South East (Mfamosing, Cross Rivers State) with Ready-Mix operations in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt.

The group reported announced N90.52billion in production cost of sales in H1 2022, representing an increase of 25 per cent from N72.54billion reported in H1 2021.

Consequently, gross profit of the company stood at N96 billion in H1 2022 from N72 billion achieved in H1 2021, reflecting an increase of 32.1 per cent.

Lafarge cement 2022 unaudited H1 2022 result showed impressive performance in its Profit After Tax (PAT).

Another top-line performance in the unaudited results for H1 2022 revealed 10.3 per cent growth in administrative expenses which rose significantly to N10.1 billion in H1 2022 from N9.2 billion  in H1 2021

The rate at which the company sell and distribute grew by 45.4 per cent to N37.7 billion in H1 2022 from N25.9 billion derived in H1 2021.

The modest performance translated into Profit Before Tax (PBT) that stood at N46.9 billion H1 2022 from N36.8 billion in H1 2021, reflecting a marginal difference of 27.6 per cent.

Also, the company recorded 32.1 per cent growth in Profit After Tax (PAT) to N37.4 billion in H1 2022, up from N28.3 billion accounted in the prior-year period.

In addition, the cement manufacturing Earnings Per Share (EPS), recorded during the period under review gained a 31 per cent to 232 kobo in H1 2022 from 176 kobo derived in H1 2021.

Balance Sheet on Impressive Position

From the balance sheet, the company’s total assets deployed as of June 30th 2022 stood at N568 billion from N526.8 billion as of December 31st 2021, an increase of 7.8 per cent.

As total current assets gained a 14.6 per cent to N156.5 billion as of June 30th 2022 from N136.6 billion as of December 31st 2021, while total non-current assets also rose by 4.9 per cent to N409.5 billion as of June 30th 2022.

Lafarge Africa recorded 29.8 per cent decline in loans and borrowings which stood at N1.742 billion as of June 30th 2022 from N2.5 billion as of December 31, 2021.

In addition, total liabilities of the company’s increased further to N168 billion as of June 30th, 2022 from N148 billion as of December 31st, 2021, an improvement of 13.4 per cent.

As total current liabilities grew by 15.9 per cent to N152 billion as of June 30th, 2022 from N131 billion as of December 31st, 2021, but total non-current liabilities had a challenge during the period depreciated by 6.2 per cent to N409.5 billion as of June 30th 2022 from N390.2 as of December 2021.

Conclusion

Currently, Lafarge has a global network presence in more than 50 countries in all continents, with over 180 cement plants, 80 waste pre-treatment facilities/ dedicated co-processing installations, an employee strength of 2,000 employees globally, and more than 10,000 customers worldwide.

The CEO of Lafarge Africa, Khaled El Dokani in a statement said, “Our Q2 2022 performance shows significant improvement over Q2 2021, with net sales of +30.5 per cent, recurring EBIT of +12.8per cent and net income of +3.5 per cent.

“Our H1 2022 results are even more impressive, with 28.7per cent and 32.1 per cent growth in net sales and net income, respectively.

“This further confirms the consistent resilience and robustness of our business. We are equally pleased with the progress we are making on sustainability; our use of affordable clean energy and agro-ecology footprint are in accordance with our net zero pledge journey.”

On the second half of 2022 outlook, he said, “Positive demand momentum expected in H2 2022.

“We will continue to maximize volume opportunities across our markets and actively manage our costs. We remain focused in our drive towards sustainability.”

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Zenith Bank Plc: A profitable outing

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Introduction

Our analysis of Zenith Bank’s 2023 recent annual report shows that the year was quite a profitable one for the bank. Not only did the bank record a commendable growth in its turnover, it was also able to maintain such momentum to its profit.

As a direct fallout, the bank’s profitability ratios (such as profit margin, return on assets, return on equity, net interest margin and pre-tax profit per employee) remained high enough for the bank to remain relevant. It is important to note that the bank is also doing very well in its core banking operations.

Growth indices

For its 2023 financial year, the bank recorded a very commendable 125.4 percent growth in its turnover (inclusive of interest and discount income, and income from non-banking operations). Such turnover rose to an all-time high of N2.13 trillion from N945.6 billion in the preceding year.

It is worthy of note that while the bulk of the bank’s turnover was contributed via interest and discount income, it also stepped up the tempo of its non-core banking operations during the course of the year and earned significantly more money from there.

Pre-tax profit growth rate followed an even more commendable pattern, growing much more steeply as compared to the growth recorded in the prior year. Profit before tax obligations for 2023 stood at N795.9 billion, up from N284.7 billion in the erstwhile year, and translating into a 179.6 percent growth rate. After-tax profit followed the same pattern as pre-tax profit did, growing commendably by 202.3 percent over the preceding year’s level.

Total assets deployed by the bank for the 2023 year improved to a higher level of N20.4 trillion, about 65.8 percent higher than the N12.3 trillion assets deployed in December 2022, while shareholders’ funds advanced to N2.3 trillion from N1.4 trillion.

Profitability ratios

In all ways, the 2023 financial year was a profitable one for Zenith, as it recorded a marked improvement in almost all of its profitability ratios.

First, the bank did well in the execution of core banking operations, as shown by its net interest margin. Zenith recorded a net interest margin of 64.3 per cent. This interest margin, although lower than what the bank recorded in the preceding year, was on par with the industry average for 2023. This lower 64.3 percent net interest margin happened despite the increasing gap between the bank’s lending rate (which grew to 17.5 percent in 2023 from 13.5 percent in December 2022) and its deposit rate (which grew to 2.7 percent from 1.9 percent).

Profit margin also grew to 37.3 percent in 2023 from 30.1 percent in December 2022. What this means is that for every N100 earned by the bank in the course of the year, N37.30 made it to the profit position. This is as compared to N30.10 for the year preceding 2023.

Return on assets (ROA) also recorded an improvement. ROA grew to 3.9 percent in 2023 from 2.3 percent in December 2022. Analysis shows that every N100 worth of Zenith’s assets contributed N3.90 to its pre-tax profit in 2023, up from N2.30 in 2022.

For every N100 equity deployed, the bank made an after-tax profit of N29.10, up from N16.20 in the preceding year. Thus, return on equity for the year was also better than that of the prior year.

Asset quality

The proportion of Zenith’s gross loan stock that became classified in 2023 declined by increasing to 7.6 per cent from 5.8 per cent in 2022. Meanwhile, loan loss reserves for 2023 could cover only 20.4 percent of Zenith’s classified loans.

For 2023, the bank was not as careful to limit the portion of its equity stock that would be wiped out were its classified loans to become totally irrecoverable. Classified loans as a portion of shareholders funds stood at 23.4 percent in 2023, higher than 17.2 percent in 2022.

Staff matters

The bank did very well in matters regarding its employees for the year ended December 31 2023. Pre-tax profit per employee grew to N97.47 million on the average, better than the N35.25 million employees contributed on the average to the bank’s pre-tax profit in 2022.

The bank was, however, generous enough to compensate its employees more in 2023 than it did in December 2022. Average staff cost rose to N15.23 million from N10.69 million within the course of 12 months. This means that there was a N4.54 million addition to what an employee earned (on the average) between December 2023 and December 2022.

Despite the fact that it upped its staff costs, Zenith succeeded in deflating such staff costs as a proportion of income earned. Staff costs as a portion of turnover decreased to 5.8 percent in 2023 from 9.1 percent in December 2022.

Other ratios

Zenith’s equity (a company’s primary and cheapest source of funding) could finance 32.9 percent of the loans and advances it gave out to borrowers, down from 33.4 percent recorded in the erstwhile year.

Also, at 0.6 times, the current ratio was not on par with the industry average for 2023. What this means is that for every N1.00 of short-term obligations, the bank had only 60 kobo in short-term assets, and was not completely able to meet short term debts from short term assets.

Having a debt to equity ratio of 7.8 shows that the bank is using N7.80 of liabilities in addition to each N1.00 of stockholders’ equity. In other words, the bank is using N8.80 of total capital for every N1.00 of equity capital.

Return on equity

Another performance ratio in which Zenith did well was in its return on equity (ROE) of 29.9 percent. Zenith’s ROE for 2023 stood at 29.1 percent.

Return on assets

This was one of the ratios in which Zenith outperformed its peers. Its ROA was 3.9 per cent, higher and better.

Pre-tax profit margin

Although Zenith Bank was not able to grow its gross earnings and pre-tax profit as fast as its peers, it was however better able to translate its turnover into profit. For the 2023 financial year, pre-tax profit margin (which measures a company’s ability to squeeze as much profit as is possible from turnover) for Zenith Bank was 37.3 percent.

Conclusion

On its own, in a stand-alone analysis, Zenith Bank is doing quite well and this should be commended. It remains to be seen, however, if Zenith and UBA will be star performers in the banking industry for 2023, or if 2023 was a generally good year for all Nigerian banks.

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Honeywell Flour Mills Plc: A tough year

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By Folakemi Emem-Akpan

Introduction

Honeywell Flour Mills Plc went the way of most other Nigerian companies in 2023, recording lower turnover. It went one step further and recorded downright end of the year losses. Because of the losses, the company did not have good profitability ratios and seems to be floundering. All in all, it was a tough year for the company.

Growth indices

Honeywell followed the general rule of earning more income in 2023 than it did in 2022. The growth in gross earnings, at 8.0 percent, was however lower than most other companies recorded. Gross earnings stood at N147.3 billion, a little higher than N136.4 billion in the prior year. Even though the company was careful to curtail cost of sales, it couldn’t quite do the same for operating expenses (inclusive of advertising and promotion, distribution, administrative and interest expenses). These grew much faster collectively in 2023 than in 2022.

For the second year in a row, Honeywell recorded a loss rather than a pre-tax profit. Loss before tax obligations for 2023 stood at a staggering N8.9 billion, a deeper loss than the N170 million pre-tax loss recorded in the prior year. After-tax loss was N260 million for the 2023 financial year, still a loss, but better than the N980 million loss recorded in 2022.

Total assets deployed by the company for the 2023 year grew to N165 billion, 11 per cent more than the N148.7 billion assets deployed in 2022. Meanwhile, shareholders’ funds declined by 27.5 per cent to N32.0 billion in the review year.

Profitability ratios

Not only did Honeywell record losses instead of profitability on a stand-alone analysis basis for the 2023 financial year, all parameters also showed a regression when compared to its preceding years’ result. First to achieve a regression was the profit margin of the company. Instead of a profit margin, there was a loss margin of 6.0 percent, meaning that for every N100 earned by the company in the course of the year, N6.00 of it translated to loss. This is as compared to a loss of 10 kobo in 2022.

Also to record a decline was return on assets (ROA). Loss on assets was 5.4 percent, as compared to a loss on assets of 0.1 percent in the erstwhile year. For the 2023 financial year, Honeywell deployed equity valued at N32.9 billion and for every N100 equity deployed, the company made an after-tax loss of 78 kobo.

The operating margin (which measures what proportion of turnover a company spends on operations and which must be kept as low as possible without compromising standards) was one of the reasons for the company’s bad results for the year. This is because such operating margin was 6.9 percent, higher and worse than the 5.2 percent recorded in the prior year.

Staff matters

As regards staff matters, pre-tax loss per employee stood at N10.9 million on the average. This is as compared to the N204 million pre-tax loss employees contributed on the average to the company’s pre-tax loss in 2022.

Average staff cost then increased significantly to N8.84 million from N5.99 million within the course of 12 months. This means that there was a N2.85 million addition to what an employee earned (on the average) between 2023 and 2022.

Perhaps, because it increased its staff costs, Honeywell did not succeed in deflating its staff costs as a proportion of income earned. Staff costs as a portion of turnover grew to 4.4 per cent in 2023, higher than 3.6 percent in 2022.

Other ratios

At 0.9 times, Honeywell’s current ratio was a little lower than the industry average for 2023. What this means is that for every N1.00 of short-term obligations, the company had 90 kobo in short-term assets, and was not fully able to meet short term debts from short term assets.

Having a debt-to-equity ratio of 4.0 shows that the company is using N4 of liabilities in addition to each N1.00 of stockholders’ equity. In other words, the company is using N5.00 of total capital for every N1.00 of equity capital, higher than it did in 2022.

Honeywell Vs Flour Mills: Still a loss

We have established that Honeywell did not improve its lot when its results are compared on a year on year basis. We can also establish that Honeywell did not compete favourably against other companies in the flour milling business for the 2023 FY. A comparison against Flour Mills buttresses this point.

While Flour Mills is easily the bigger of the two companies (in fact, it is the parent company of Honeywell), a bigger size does not automatically translate into better profitability. For the 2023 review year, Flour Mills was also the clear leader in terms of performance. Of six profitability ratios examined, Flour Mills led in all.

Turnover growth rate

For the 2023 financial year, Flour Mills had a turnover growth rate of 32.8 percent, as compared to Honeywell’s turnover growth rate of 8 per cent for the same period under review. Analysis shows that Flour Mills was the winner in this respect.

Pre-tax profit growth rate

For the year, Flour Mills’ profit before tax grew by a mere 1.5 percent. Yet, this was much better than the 5,074 percent decline Honeywell recorded. However, it is also important to note that while Flour Mills witnessed an actual growth, Honeywell had a pre-tax loss of N8.9 million.

Between turnover and profit

For the 2023 financial year, pre-tax profit margin (which measures a company’s ability to squeeze as much profit as is possible from turnover) for Honeywell was actually a pre-tax loss margin of (6.1) percent. Flour Mills, on the other hand, had a better pre-tax profit margin of 2.6 percent.

Return on equity

Flour Mills led its peers in terms of return on equity (ROE), recording an ROE of 13.1 per cent. Analysis shows that while every N100 worth of equity deployed by Flour Mills earned it N13.10 in after-tax profit, such N100 equity deployed earned Honeywell 78 kobo as after-tax loss.

Return on assets

ROA for Flour Mills was 3.7 percent, down from 5.9 percent in the prior year. This means that of every N100 worth of assets deployed by Flour Mills, N3.70 accrued to it as pre-tax profit while Honeywell recorded a N5.40 pre-tax loss from every N100 worth of assets employed.

Pre-tax profit per employee

For the 2023 financial year, Flour Mills recorded a pre-tax profit per employee of N6.72 million, much better than Honeywell’s N10.9 million pre-tax loss per employee.

Conclusion

Honeywell’s loss for its 2023 financial year shows how events beyond a company’s control can have an effect, either negative or positive, on its bottom line. It is clear that the economic recession Nigeria has been experiencing had a severely limiting effect on Honeywell’s revenues and performance. It remains to be seen what the 2024 FY will hold for the company.

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PZ Cussons Plc: A commendable outing

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Introduction

A thorough analysis of PZ CussonsPlc current financial report shows that it is yet growing. It was able to step up the level of its business activities as shown by a growing turnover base. It was also able to increase profit during the course of the year. Profitability ratios for the year were a progression over the preceding year’s. Profit margin improved, as did return on assets, return on equity, and pre-tax profit per employee.

Truth be told, the conglomerate’s results for the 2023 financial year was extremely commendable, given the stressful operational environment in Nigeria for the review year.

Growth indices

For its 2023 financial year, PZ Cussons recorded a level of growth in all of its major parameters. First to receive a boost was the company’s gross earnings. Gross earnings for the year stood at N113.96 billion, 14.5 percent higher than the N99.5 billion recorded in the preceding year. This 14.5 percent growth rate is as compared to a higher growth rate of 20.5 per cent in 2022.

Because direct costs grew at a slower pace than turnover did, gross profit advanced by 35.6 percent to N32.9 billion. After deducting operating expenses from the gross profit and adding other income (including interest income), PZ Cussons was left with a pre-tax profit of N20.46 billion, a whopping 104.4 percent higher than the N10.01 billion pre-tax profit recorded in the erstwhile year. This 104.4 percent growth rate is as compared to a pre-tax profit growth rate of 213.8 percent in the preceding year.

After-tax profit (which was also the same as distributable profit) grew over the preceding year’s by as much as 114.2 percent to N14.35 billion. For the first time in a while, the conglomerate chose not to dedicate any portion of its distributable profit to dividend.  Thus, shareholders did not receive any dividend.

Total assets for the year stood at N166.38 billion, up from N109.47 billion in 2022 and translating into a 52.0 percent growth rate. Total liabilities also grew by 64.5 per cent to N118.0 billion from N71.73 billion while shareholders’ funds grew by 28.1 per cent to N48.36 billion from N37.74 billion in the erstwhile year.

Profitability ratios

For the year, operating margin (which calculates what proportion of turnover is used to finance operations) was 21.7 percent, slightly lower and therefore better than the 24.7 percent that was recorded in 2022. What this means is that the probable margin for PZ Cussons to be profitable expanded, albeit slightly during the course of the year.

Perhaps because of this, the profit margin for the year increased. Profit margin for 2023 stood at 18.0 percent, higher than 10.1 percent in the preceding year. What this means is that N18.00 made it to the profit position for every N100 earned in 2023, up from N10.10 in 2022.

Return on assets (ROA) followed the same pattern. ROA for the year increased to 12.3 percent from 9.1 percent in 2022, meaning that every N100 worth of assets deployed contributed N12.30 to the pre-tax profit for the year, higher than the N9.10 recorded in 2022.

Also, return on equity (ROE) grew to 29.7 percent from 17.8 percent, meaning that every N100 worth of equity employed contributed N29.70 to the after-tax profit in 2023, up from N17.80 in the prior year.

Our examination of this conglomerate’s profitability ratios shows that the company recorded quite a profitable year in 2023, which was not the case for many other manufacturing companies in Nigeria.

Staff matters

In terms of staff matters, the conglomerate did not do too shabbily for the year ended December 31 2023. On the average, each employee contributed N20.54 million to the company’s pre-tax profit, commendably up from N9.63 million in the prior year.

To this end, PZ Cussons reciprocated by increasing its staff cost per employee. On the average, wages and salaries earned by each staff increased to N8.04 million during the course of the year, up from N7.23 million in the preceding.

It is however worthy of note and laudable that despite increasing average staff costs, the company did not actually put itself out more than was necessary. Staff costs as a proportion of turnover decreased (and by so doing, improved) to 7 per cent.

Other ratios

For the year, PZ Cussons’ short-term assets increased to N148.1 billion while its short-term liabilities increased to a collective N94.68 billion. The interplay between these two had an upping effect on its current ratio. At 1.6 times (higher than 1.4 in the preceding year), current ratio was on par with industry standards. What this means is that for every one Naira of short-term obligations, the company had N1.60 in short-term assets, and was more than able to meet obligations as at when due.

The company had a debt-to-equity ratio of 2.4 and this shows that the company is using N2.40 of liabilities in addition to each N1.00 of stockholders’ equity. In other words, the company is using N3.40 of total capital for every N1.00 of equity capital.

PZ Cussons Vs Nestle: PZ Cussons larger and superior

PZ Cussons Plc and Nestle Nigeria Plc are competitors, and both have been operating in the Nigerian conglomerate scene for years. While Nestle is currently the bigger of the two in terms of sales generation and assets employment, PZ Cussons is better when it comes to profit retention. Of the six profitability ratios we examined, Nestle only took the lead in turnover growth rate, while PZ Cussons took the lead in the remaining five.

Sales generation and profit retention

As usual, Nestle recorded more sales in 2023 than PZ Cussons did. Also, Nestle’s growth rate for the year was much better than PZ Cussons.’ This said, PZ Cussons excelled better in translating its sales into profit. It had a positive pretax profit growth rate as compared to Nestle’s decline rate. It also had a profit margin, as compared to Nestle’s loss margin for the year under review.

Returns

PZ Cussons recorded better returns on assets and on equity for the 2023 financial year. Return on assets (ROA) and return on equity (ROE) were 12.3 percent and 29.7 percent respectively. Meanwhile, Nestle had negative returns. For Nestle, ROA was negative 17.9 per cent while ROE was negative 101.9 per cent.

Conclusion

In an operating environment where most companies recorded either negative or slowed down profitability ratios, PZ Cussons is an exceptional, a very laudable one. Its ability to not only generate sales but also to maximise profits for the 2023 financial year is indeed commendable.

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