Shareholders of Dangote Cement Plc (DCP) yesterday approved the N178.9 billion dividend recommended for the year ended December 31, 2017 and commended the board and management for the impressive performance despite the challenging operating environment.

The cement company, which is the biggest firm listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) ended 2017 with a profit after tax of N204.2 billion, up by 43 per cent from N142.9 billion in 2016. Based on that improved bottom-line, the board recommended a dividend of N178.9 billion, which translated to N10.50 per share, up from N8.70 the . year.

Speaking at the 7th annual general meeting (AGM) of the company in Lagos, the excited shareholders said DCP had continued to create value for them, urging the board and management to maintain that leading performance going forward.

Specifically, DCP recorded a revenue of N805.6 billion, up by 31 per cent from N615.1 billion in 2016. Profit before tax rose by 60.1 per cent from N180.9 billion to N298.6 billion, while profit after tax grew by43 per cent to N204.2 billion, from N142.9 billion in 2016.

In his address to shareholders, Chairman of DCP, Alhaji Aliko Dangote said the board believed that the recommended dividend is at an appropriate level and was consistent with the company’s aim of delivering superior returns to shareholders, while at the same time balancing the company’s need to invest in growth.

He said as a company, DCP was accorded international credit ratings that were actually higher on a standalone basis than the sovereign country of Nigeria.

“This recognition should assure you, our shareholders, that our long-term view and prudent management are serving us well at a time when others in our industry are facing difficulties that challenge their independence and only serve to erode shareholder value,” he said.

Also speaking, the Acting Chief Executive Officer of DCP, Joseph Makoju said he was pleased with the way the company adapted to . efforts to the challenges in the Nigerian economy in 2017.

Looking ahead, Makoju said the company would return to volume growth, particularly in Nigeria as the economy recovers and the higher oil price brings more cash into the country.

“We will continue to focus on improving sales and logistic so we are well prepared for when the market picks up, which we are confident it will in 2018 as infrastructure investment begins to accelerate,” Makoju said.