Our dream is to achieve market leadership in Nigeria — MD, International Breweries

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The Managing Director International Breweries Plc, Mr. Hugo Dias Rocha has said, “Our dream of achieving market leadership of the beer industry in Nigeria remains unshaken as we are confident in our abilities and commitment as a team.”

IB Plc, a proud part of the AB InBev Group, the world’s largest brewer with over 400 beer brands, held its 44th Annual General Meeting in Lagos recently.

The meeting had in attendance stakeholders of International Breweries Plc, comprising the company’s executive and non-executive directors, shareholders, representatives of regulatory agencies, external auditors, and staff.

Speaking on IB Plc’s overall performance, , he said “Aside from growing our volumes year-on-year, we have also continued to gain market share as we look to becoming even more adaptable to an ever-evolving operational climate.”

He further stated that in the year under review, despite two major economic crises- COVID-19 and the social unrests, the company hit an all-time record in volume and brand development. Within the same year under review, International Breweries launched a new brand – Trophy Stout and the company now houses the top two products (Trophy and Hero) in the country.

The Chairman, HRM Nnaemeka Achebe, in his address to shareholders at the AGM, expressed gratitude for their valuable trust and support despite the prevailing socio-economic challenges impacting the Nigerian business environment.

He stated that with the roll out of vaccines and gradual return to full activities, there’s hope for the recovery of the global economy.

According to him, “International Breweries Plc will continue to strengthen its market position through diversified development and optimization of its corporate strategy as it stays committed to achieving a sustainable development and improving product quality to maintain its competitive edge.”

While responding to the shareholders’ questions, the Finance Director of the company, Mr Bruno Zambrano, stated that “the rights issue which was concluded in January 2020 (the largest in Nigeria’s history) was targeted successfully at deleveraging the company’s balance sheet.

“All the proceeds of the rights issue were used to reduce our overall debt. As a result, total borrowings reduced from N263.6billion as at 31st December 2019 to N110.7billion as at 31st December 2020. The company continues to generate positive cash flows, with improvements in working capital of more than NGN 31.6bn; to cover its short-term obligations.”

He noted that International Breweries Plc will continue to explore available options to settle foreign-denominated liabilities and hedging instruments to mitigate foreign currency risks, reiterating that the company is strategically positioned for success in the future.

Some shareholders at the meeting expressed confidence in the ability of the Board and Management to improve the fortunes of the Company as it looks to assume the reins of market leadership, urging the Company to remain dedicated to this goal.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions placed on mass gatherings by the government, the annual event was streamed live to enable shareholders and other stakeholders who could not attend physically to follow proceedings.

Following a strong start to the year, the company’s overall results in 2020 were significantly impacted by the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the challenges, net revenue increased by 3.4per cent, and Gross Profit increased by 20.9per cent with Gross Margin enhancement of more than 320 bps to 22.3per cent.