Eterna Plc yesterday marked its 30th year anniversary with an assurance of continued growth and expansion in the years ahead. Incorporated as a limited liability company in 1989, Eterna became a public limited liability company in 1997 and had its shares listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) in August 1998.
Eterna, which has been listed for 21 years, was honoured yesterday with the ceremonial beating of the closing gong for the NSE, the highest honour at the stock market. The equities market continued on the upswing, with the market capitalisation rising by N254 billion to close at N12.106 trillion as against its opening value of N11.852 trillion.
Speaking at the trading closing ceremony at the Exchange, Managing Director, Eterna Plc, Mr. Mahmud Tukur, said the company has grown over the past three decades through thick and thin and it is now in better position to create greater values for all stakeholders.
He assured the investing public that the company would build on its impressive track records and deliver better values to shareholders.
“We are focused on creating additional value for you, 2019 should be an excellent year,” Tukur assured.
Chairman, Eterna Plc, Mr Lamis Shehu Dikko, commended the investing public for their trust in the company over the past three decades.
He also assured that the company has been positioned to outperform its previous years and deliver better values to stakeholders.
Doyen of Stockbrokers, Mr Sam Ndata, described Eterna as one of the good stocks at the stock market noting that the investing public has confidence in the company.
He said the stockbrokers were happy with the performance of the company over the past 30 years, assuring it of continuing support of the stockbrokers.
Ndata, the oldest trading stockbroker on the trading floor yesterday, urged the company to continue to provide the investing public with continuous insights into its operations by engaging with the stockbrokers.
Other members of the board and management of Eterna at the ceremony yesterday included Ms. Kudi Badmus, Chief Finance Officer; Mrs. Afolake Lawal, Non Executive Director; Mr. Oluwole Abegunde, Non Executive Director and Mr Olutola Mobolurin.
Earlier at a press briefing on the 3oth anniversary, Tukur outlined the company’s five-year strategic plan aimed at expanding the operations of the company and extend its reach within and outside Nigeria.
According to him, the company plans to build a more diversified business with consolidation of its existing niche market of lubricant and expansion into other new businesses.
He said the company plans to open some 200 petrol stations during the period of the five-year plan as it seeks to build a robust downstream business.
He outlined that the company will leverage on franchising, leasing and acquisition while focusing on strategic locations that deliver value for money.
Tukur said the company plans to raise new capital to support its business expansion, including its expansion into West African and ECOWAS sub region.
He noted that the company has a stronger balance sheet to support new capital raising having settled its N14 billion debt and completed strategic business enhancement that places it in good stead to pursue new investment opportunities and expansion.
“Eterna has not raise any fresh equity since 2009 and the market has not been fantastic for raising of equity, but between 2009 and 2018, we have been able to pay over N14 billion in debt and we have grown shareholders fund from N4 billion to N13 billion, All that have been done from internally generated working capital. We have generated profit, we have paid down our debt, and we have improved shareholders value, and now it is time for us to go back to the capital market to raise money to help us continue in our expansion because we are clean, we are debt free, our balance sheet is clean so let us take advantage of it and raise fresh capital to enable us meet our expansion objective, either debt or equity from our shareholders and that is what our current strategy is,” Tukur said.
He said the company has stronger underlying value than as reflected in the current pricing at the stock market.
He attributed the undervaluation of the company’s shares to information gap noting that people do not know what the company is all about, its internal restructuring, innovations, capacity building, its businesses and structure among others.
“Everybody that looks into our share price knows that the company is undervalued relative to its performance, so it is a very good share, we have paid dividend in a very challenging environment,” Tukur said.
THE NATION dsemihi