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Uganda Clays Ltd boosts shareholders with Shs1.35bn dividend

The company registered growth in profit for the second consecutive year amidst COVID-19 pandemic

Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Uganda Clays Limited reported a sharp increase in annual profit for 2021 and has promised to return Shs 1.35 billion to shareholders as dividends subject the annual general meeting approval.

The clays products manufacturer on April.14 reported a profit after tax of Shs 5.9billion, representing a 21% growth compared to the previous year amidst coronavirus pandemic.

The company executives – Board Chairperson, Martin Kasekende and Managing Director, Reuben Tumwebaze – said improved efficiencies in production and a change in the sales model to the use of agents to reach more customers contributed to the profitability.

UCL’s revenue for the period increased by 24% to Shs 36.7 billion compared to Shs 29.7 billion in 2020, as gross profit increased by 27% to Shs 17.2 billion during the period under review

However, the company’s overhead costs increased by 28% to Shs 12.1 billion.  Similarly, net cash from operating activities increased from Shs 6.1 billion to Shs 9.3 billion during the same period citing increased production and sales volume.

In addition, the value of assets increased by 8% to Shs 74.5billion driven by deliberate investment investments in  factories – Kajjansi and Kamonkoli,  clay reserves, and trucks to move raw materials and products.

This is the second time in arrow that the UCL is recoding growth in profits in the past three years. Listed on the Uganda Stock Exchange in 2000, UCL registered a persistence growth in profits until 2009 when it registered a Shs707 million loss from a profit of Shs2.15 billion in 2008 with the global financial crisis to blame.

However, its woes worsened with the timing of the establishment of the second plant at Kamonkoli, in eastern Uganda in 2009, as it led to a sharp surge in operating costs amidst the slowdown in the economic activities.

The plunge into red led to negative investor sentiments on the USE leading to a drop in share price from Shs60 in 2009 to Shs 15% in 2015.

Efforts to return the company to profitability only yielded positive results in 2016 when it posted Shs2.3 billion in net profit, up from a loss of Shs1.2 billion recorded in 2015.  This led to a sharp rise in the share price on USE to Shs 24 per share in the subsequent year.

But this was followed up with the increase in pay-cheques for its managers as the company doubled the pay rise for the Board of Directors in fulfillment of the latter’s request citing improved profitability.

But before dust could settle on the old financials, UCL recorded a drop in net profit in 2018 to Shs1.9billion and a loss of Shs88million in 2019. This activated a fall in share price to Shs 8, prompting the Board to show the then Managing Director, George Inholo, alongside Head of Production, Head of Human Resources and Support Services an exit in March 2020.

Jacqueline Kiwanuka, the head of finance, was in the meantime, appointed a new managing director in the interim, who later returned the company to profitability, posting Shs 4.9billion in 2020.   Reuben Tumwebaze was appointed as the substantive managing director in March last year.

UCL’s main shareholders includes National Insurance Corporation, Central Bank of Kenya Employee Pension Fund,  Bank of Uganda Staff Retirement Plan, and  of course National Social Security Fund among others.

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