Shareholders of Nestle Nigeria Plc on Thursday endorsed the company?s dividend sum of N15.85 billion for the financial year ended Dec.31, 2012.

The shareholders also approved the appointment of Mr David Ifezulike as the new chairman. Ifezulike replaces Chief Olusegun Osunkeye, who retired on May 9.

The shareholders gave the approval at the company’s 44th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos.

According to reports, the total dividend sum was 59.3 per cent higher than the N9.95 billion declared in 2011.

The N15.85 billion translates to dividend of N18.50 per share for the second half of the year.

The company had earlier paid an interim dividend of N1.50, making a total dividend of N20.00 per share for the 2012 financial year.

Chief Olusegun Osunkeye said that the company attained lofty heights with “sustainable excellence”.

Osunkeye said that Ifezulike had been in the company, both in Nigeria and outside, for 22 years and on the board for more than 10 years.

He said that the new chairman would take over as chairman on May 10.

Osunkeye said that the company?s strategy was to be a leading nutrition, healthier food and beverage company? at any time.

The company’s revenue during the period under review grew by 19 per cent to N116.71 billion against the N97.961 billion recorded in 2011.

The profit after tax also increased by 27 per cent to N20.95 billion in contrast to the N16.496 billion posted in 2011.

Its operating profit moved by 21 per cent to N25.99 billion from the N21.51 billion in the preceding year.

Mr Sunny Nwosu, the National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association (ISAN), commended the board and management for the growth recorded by the firm.

Nwosu urged the new chairman to sustain the trend and reward shareholders with a bonus issue in the 2013 financial year.

Mr Timothy Adesiyan, the President, Nigeria Shareholders Solidarity Association, said that the company was operating on a transparent platform.

Adesiyan said that the company, through its employment opportunities and products, had helped in reducing poverty in the country.

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