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Uganda Baati to pay sh3.5b in dividends

By Samuel Sanya

UGANDA Baati shareholders will share sh3.5b in dividends, the acting chairman, said on Monday.

"The board has agreed a final dividend of sh8,000 per share for the year-ended 2010. This is one of the highest dividend payments we have made in recent years," Sharad Salgar, said.

Salgar told an annual general meeting at Kati Kati Restaurant in Kampala that the strong performance in 2010 was due to a pricing strategy that resulted in a 3% increase in sales to sh140.22b from sh136.15b, the previous year.

Over the same period, the profit before tax surged 269% to sh7.78b, up from sh2.11b, resulting into a sh5.18b net profit.

Salgar lamented over the turbulent exchange market, which he pointed out sent production costs over the roof. The exchange rate has been volatile, reaching sh2,400 from sh1,908 at the beginning of 2010.

Margaret Kiwana, the representative of the minority shareholders, applauded the management for the impressive performance.She was bullish over the company's future prospects.

"Given the Uganda housing shortage statistics and the price competitiveness of the products vis-a-vis quality, we expect revenues to continue growing," she said.

The minority shareholders, however, raised concerns to the company management about the changes in shareholding and the nature of the relationship between Uganda Baati, Safintra Rwanda, Uganda Aluminum Ltd, and Shumuk Ltd.