FGN Courteville urges govt to support local businesses

Courteville Business Solutions Plc has urged government at different levels to support local business in order to grow the economy.

According to the Group Managing Director (GMD)/Chief Executive Officer of the company, Mr. Adebola Akindele, during its “facts behind the figures” at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in Lagos last Thursday, said government should support and trust the capabilities of local industries. He said, “the Federal Government does not have to insist that there should be the presence of a foreign partner company for one to deliver national utility services. I refuse every time they send out request for bids and they say, show us evidence of your foreign affiliation with companies. They are not as good as I am as a company, so why do I need to affiliate with them. So, if we don’t believe in what we can do locally, who will take us serious outside Nigeria?”

He pointed out that Nigerians will go outside the country to do business and suffer being Nigerians and still come back to suffer the same thing. This, Akindele said, is not good for the country.

He also urged the government to ensure that it carries all stakeholders along in its policies, adding that Courteville has vowed to contribute its quota towards the growth of the economy despite government policies.

The GMD assured the shareholders of safety of their investments even as he promised better and improved returns on their investments.

“We have been giving returns to shareholders even during the turbulent years and we will continue doing that, even better. We are very mindful that we are not perfect but we will continue to make you proud.”

Akindele hinted that the Courteville has upgraded AutoReg MVAD to version three, expanded services into additional five new states in Nigeria, designed and developed an obligatory Biometric Health Care Insurance Card project for the Republic of Guinea, among others. Commenting on the company’s 2014 full year result, he said Courteville’s performance in 2014 was impressive as the gross profit improved by three per cent to 61 per cent in 2014 compared with 58 per cent recorded in 2013.

Net profit margin remained relatively stable at 38 per cent in the review period compared with 35 per cent in 2013 while the profit before tax increased by 13 per cent to N457 million in 2014 as against N403 million recorded in 2013.

Looking into the future, Courteville has big plans which include construction of the AutoReg business platform into a dominant franchise in sub-Saharan Africa, full diversion into enhancement of e-business solution development and services, expansion of AutoReg MVAD franchise into other states in Nigeria and continue the accelerated expansion into the African and Caribbean market.

o gave the approval at the annual general meeting of the bank Thursday also commended the management of Access Bank for keeping the bank’s non-performing loans lower thereby placing the bank at the fore-front of banks that are sound and healthy in the country.

According to shareholder activist, Dr. Farouk Umar, despite the pressure from the regulatory authorities, the bank’s performance was commendable adding that the management of the bank also did a good work for keeping the non-performing loan (NPL) exposure at the lowest in the sector.

He also called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to reduce the cash reserve ratio (CRR), which was put in place to check banks from lending to politicians, now that elections are over.

Another shareholder, Boniface Okezie, said the bank needs to be commended for paying 60 kobo dividend despite raising funds through rights issue, a decision that could make other banks not to pay dividend at all.

Chairman of the bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode, said the bank’s ability to generate strong financial performance despite adverse market condition is a testament to the efforts of the management team. He added that in the year under review, the bank improved its revenue generation capacity as gross earnings rose to N245 billion from what was recorded in 2013, while profit before tax rose by 20 percent to N52 billion.

“As we pursue our mission and vision, we are confident that the strategic direction we have chosen is sound. We will maintain our strong capital and liquidity, managing risk effectively and operating efficiently to reduce costs,” Oyebode stated.

Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director of the bank, while responding to questions at the meeting, said considering steps being currently taken by the bank and the success recorded in the rights issue, the bank will pay more dividend at the end of the current financial year.

His words: “All we are doing now is to secure the future of the bank and we are on the right course. You should expect better dividend next year. When some of the seeds we are sowing now began to bring fruits, it will be to the admiration and satisfaction of our shareholders”.

– The Sun Online, Wednesday May 20 2015

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