UAC of Nigeria (UACN) Plc, one of Nigeria’s largest and oldest business conglomerates, has approved the appointment of Ibikunle Oriola as its Group Finance Director, even as the firm scuffles with dwindling profits.
Oriola, who is a seasoned professional with 17 years’ experience gained from diverse functional roles, covering finance, strategy, risk management, and corporate finance, had served as the Group Chief Finance Officer (CFO) of Transnational Corporation Of Nigeria Plc until August 2017.
After-tax profit of the conglomerate firm slumped 84 percent in 2017 to N962.82 million from N5.67 billion posted a year earlier. There is probably no end in sight for the company’s deteriorating performance in 2018 as it could only record N252.41 million profit in the first nine months of 2018, that is more than 87 percent fallback from N1.97 billion post-tax profit recorded in the same period in 2017.
Consequently, UACN share price has maintained a downward spree in the last five years, tumbling to its weakest levels since 2005. It closed unchanged, Monday, at N8 after the close of trading at the Lagos bourse.
UACN’s current performance is reminiscent of its conglomerate peer, Transcorp, in 2012 before Oriola’s appointment in September 2017. Transcorp could only shelve its waning profit in 2017 but resumed a year after to hit a loss of N1.13 billion in 2016.
Transcorp, however, came out of the woods in 2017 after recording N10.61 billion profit. Despite the ups and downs, the firm continually increased sales within the period.
Oriola has provided strategic finance leadership driving transformational and growth agenda of conglomerate business spanning several sectors such as hospitality, real estate, power, agriculture, and asset management.
He is expected to deploy his rich experience to the development and implementation of appropriate financial strategies to uplift productivity and business performance across the UAC group, the firm said in a notice filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Monday.
The newly appointed director holds a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the University of Lagos before being certified by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) as an associate member in 2000. He also served as the Group CFO at Asset & Resource Management Holding Company Limited.
UAC of Nigeria was incorporated on April 22, 1931. It manufactures food products, operates fast-food restaurants, and offers logistic as well as real estate services. The company also produces cereals, oils, paints, personal care products, and bottled spring water through subsidiaries.