BUA Foods PLC on Tuesday on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) had its facts behind the listing and closing gong ceremony. GEOFFREY EKENNA, reports that the company believes it is moving in the right direction in helping the country secure its food needs
It was a day to remember for the management and staff of the BUA Group, a leading Nigerian Conglomerate January 18. On that day, its latest arm BUA Foods PLC rang the closing bell at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) to officially formalize its listing of its shares on the platform for the public.
The event, which held at the trading room of the NGX, had the top executives of both BUA and the NGX in attendance. BUA Foods PLC had few weeks ago announced that it has received approval to list on the main board of the Nigerian exchange (“ngx”).
According to the group, BUA Foods also satisfied, “the listing requirements of the exchange and obtained relevant regulatory approvals. As a result, BUA Foods is now listed in the consumer goods sector of the exchange, with the ticker “buafoods”.” The company said that a total of 18,000,000,000 (eighteen billion) shares were admitted to trading, representing the total issued share capital of the company.
“The listing by introduction means that the shares of existing BUA Foods’ shareholders has been listed without an additional public sale of shares. Henceforth, all BUA Foods shareholders will be free to trade their shares on the exchange.
According to Abdul Samad Rabiu, CON, chairman of BUA Group: “I am delighted that yet another member of BUA Group has been listed on the NGX. This shows our commitment to national economic growth and support for the food security drive of the nation in alignment with global sustainability goals.”
He added: “We appreciate the continued support of our stakeholders – financial advisers, stock brokers, suppliers, customers, consumers and members of staff. In particular, we cherish our host communities with whom we continue to entrench very strong and mutually beneficial relationships.”
The acting Managing Director, BUA Foods, Engr. Ayodele Abioye, stated that, “the listing today marks a new beginning for a company playing a critical role in the FMCG industry, one that’s highly committed to nourishing lives with all our product offerings.
The listing resonates with our commitment to sustainable growth as we nourish and enrich the lives of consumers by delivering high quality products at competitive prices.
This listing creates an avenue for everyone to be a part of the success story of BUA Foods and benefit from the growth opportunities ahead.”
The company has for over three decades maintained an unbroken streak of yearon- year growth, establishing ultra-modern production facility across multiple locations. BUA Foods remains a consistent leading player in the food and FMCG industry with strong reputation for exceeding customers and consumers expectations with high-quality products.
He said that BUA Foods has also continued to invest in modern technology for efficient food production, innovating and expanding with strategic partners across the value chain.
The company, according to him is also well positioned to leverage significant export potentials across West Africa and the larger African continent. At the unveiling of the company few weeks ago, the group announced that the productions that were merged into BUA Foods included the Bua Sugar Refinery Limited,
Bua Rice Limited, Bua Oil Mills Limited, Irs Flour, and Irs Pasta. The group said the consolidation became necessary to maintain its market leadership in the agribusiness and food processing sector as well as take advantage of the growth opportunities in the economy and the export prospect presented by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCFTA).
“We have perhaps the largest food business in Nigeria and the West African sub-region. To realise our full potential as a business as we drive the food security needs of the country, we recently consolidated our food businesses under a single entity to be known as BUA Foods,” said Abdul Samad Rabiu.
He added: “The restructuring will enable us to be number one and more responsive to the food needs of the population as we continue to build a sustainable business,” He said that said BUA Foods was well positioned to take advantage of the AFCFTA considering its investments in the foods sector over the years.
Rabiu explained that the group has eight ultra-modern factories across the country, where sugar, flour, pasta products, edible oils, and rice are refined and processed.
The business has a refining capacity of 1.5 million metric tonnes of sugar yearly from its two automated sugar refineries in Lagos and Port Harcourt.
“Our destination refinery in Port Harcourt is mostly export-based and can produce the highest grade of sugar there, that could serve the West African sub-region and the nigerian markets,” he enthused.
BUA Foods has also invested heavily in the backward integration program of the Federal Government under the supervision of the National Sugar Development Council (NSDC).
Its 20,000 hectares of sugar cane plantation in Lafiagi, Kwara State is generating over 10,000 direct employment with capacity to add 200,000metric tonnes of sugar into the economy as well as produce 20,000,000 litres of ethanol. At the closing bell ceremony on Tuesday, Kabiru Rabiu, an Executive Director of the group, told journalists that the company was focused on providing food security for the country.
He also expressed delight at the response the food chain has received from the investing public. He said: “We are happy! We are excited! It is not every time that you list shares like this and you see this type of rally. So, it is a good thing and I think it is a show of confidence that the stakeholders and investing public have on the company we listed.
This is our position. The thing with the share price is that it is a demand and supply thing. There is a very strong demand on the stock and the supply is there. It is a very good investment and those that understand the numbers and the figures and the nature of investments took advantage of the share prices and invested in the stock.”
On the expansion process, he said that, “we are bringing more investments. We are doubling our capacity of flour as well as our pasta. We are activating our rice mill. We are expecting a jump in the revenue when we do all these. What we have, there are not a lot of companies that have the type of products that we have. For example, rice is the main staple food in Nigeria.
We are sitting on 15, 000 hectres of land in Niger State for rice production and today, we own and operate the largest rice milling company in Nigeria, which is about 200, 000 tonnes capacity. We are also investing heavily in backward integration in sugar.
Our Lafiagi sugar plant is a $20million investment, that will come on stream by early next year and we continue to look and see what Nigeria needs, how we can produce what we need and feed ourselves, even if you don’t have the opportunity to export. That is what we are doing and that is what we continue to do. We look at the grain and food production. At times, you know it is the processing capacity that matter.
The processing capacity is there. I think where we lack as a nation is more on the production aspect, the agricultural aspect. If you look at what we are doing, for example in Lafiagi, we are building over 200 kilometres of hard roads and we are building over 35 kilometres of others and we are spending a lot of money on irrigation infrastructure and by the time it comes on stream, we are going to be generating about 35 megawatts of electricity.
These things are good and there are not a lot of companies doing that. You can see that we are doing a lot in ensuring food security.” At the Facts Behind the Listing and Closing Gong Ceremony, Kabiru, who represented Rabiu, said that the nation’s food production capacity is still not enough to meet current demands. He however said that with the listing of the firm’s food business on the NGX, there is hope for Nigeria in terms of building capacity for food sufficiency.
He said: “Today for us is very historic and we are excited to begin the year with the listing. The population of Nigeria is over 200 million and our food production capacity is still not enough to meet current demands.”
The listing of BUA Foods’ shares added N720 billion to the market capitalisation of NGX, further boosting liquidity in the Nigerian capital market and providing opportunities for wealth creation. Chief Executive Officer of NGX, Temi Popoola, commended the company for taking the bold step to join its subsidiary company,
BUA Cement, as a listed company. He said the listing of BUA Foods Plc on the exchange reaffirms the confidence that leading Nigerian corporates have in NGX as the partner of choice for raising capital and enabling sustainable growth and development.