By Taofik Salako, Deputy Group Business Editor
Chairman, Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) Plc, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, yesterday urged government to faithfully implement the national backward integration policy in the sugar industry as the implementation will bring foreign exchange of up to $700 millon yearly from sugar production self-sufficiency.
Speaking yesterday at the 15th annual general meeting (AGM) of the company  in Lagos, Dangote said that allowing for distortions in the sugar masterplan framework will adversely affect the target of the nation attaining self-sufficiency as projected.
He described the backward integration policy (BIP) as a commendable policy which will not only reduce imports of raw sugar but save the nations enormous foreign exchange used for importation.
He expressed delight that the BIP in the sugar industry is going on well, noting that if the National Sugar Master Plan is followed strictly and the players follow the rules, the country will be better for it as Nigeria will save between $600 million and $700 million annually in foreign exchange.
He stated that the backward integration policy of DSR is recording appreciable progress even as he declared the companys irrevocable commitment to the policy.
Addressing the shareholders, Dangote said that despite the disruptions in the economy occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dangote Sugar Refinery has announced an increase in production volume which rose by 13.7 per cent to 743,858 tonnes in the financial year ended December 31, 2020, compared to 654,071 tonnes in 2019.
He stated that the company posted a group turnover of N214.3 billion a 33 per cent increase over the N161.1 billion in 2019, while in the same period the sugar group also posted a 6.9 percent increase in sales volume from 684,487 tonnes in 2019 to 731,701 tonnes in 2020. Gross profit increased by 40.4 per cent to N53.75 billion, compared to   N38.29 billion in 2019 while Group profit after taxation for the year increased by 33.2 percent to N26.70 billion as against N22.36 billion in 2019, reflecting managements unrelenting goal to deliver consistent shareholder value.
Therefore, the board of the company declared a dividend payment of N18.22 billion to the shareholders, amounting to N1.50 kobo per ordinary share of 50k each.
According to him, the improvements were attributable to operations optimization strategy despite disruption caused by civil unrest in last quarter of the year.
Our growth continued to benefit from the sustained efforts to drive customer base expansion and several trade initiatives and investments, Dangote said.
He said the company has revised its sugar production target to 550,000 metric tonnes achievable by 2024 in line with the revised plan on the BIP by the federal government.
Group Managing Director, Dangote Sugar Refinery (DSR) Plc, Mr. Ravindra Singhvi, said the sugar group continued on the growth path with commitments to improve performance and generate value for all stakeholders.
He explained that this was reflected in the sales volume delivery of 731,701 tonnes, and production of 743,858 tonnes being 6.9% and 13.7% increase in volumes over the comparative year 2019.
He said the company would ensure all hands are on deck to meet the targeted 550,000tonnes projected to be achieved by 2024.
Our Backward Integration goal is to become a global force in sugar production, by producing 1.5M MT/PA of refined sugar from locally grown sugar cane for the domestic and export markets.
Our focus on the implementation of our key strategies in the face of the several challenges posed by the COVID-19  Pandemic, the peculiarities of the Apapa traffic situation amongst others we achieved a topline growth in revenue of N214.30 billion, a 33.0 per cent increase over 2019; a 53 per cent increase in profit before tax, and 33.2 per cent increase in profit after tax.
2020 was indeed very eventful for our company ranging from the weak macroeconomic fundamentals caused by the underlying impact of COVID-19 pandemic which saw to the steady rise in forex rate, high inflation and the significant rise in our cost of production, to the worsening traffic gridlock on the Apapa Wharf Road which led to delays and at times disruption of the distribution and deliveries to customers, Singhvi said.
He noted that one of the key highlights of during the year was the successful completion of the Scheme of Arrangement for the  merger between Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc (DSR) and Savannah Sugar Company Limited (SSCL) with effect from September 1, 2020, to operate under one unified entity.
We are confident the merger will enable us to achieve operational, administrative and governance efficiencies resulting in increased shareholder value. We will continue to pursue our Backward Integration Projects, and other key initiatives to grow our sales volumes, market share, optimize cost and operational efficiencies, Singhvi said..
President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Farouk Umar commended the management of DSR for the impressive performance of the company despite the hiccups in the year 2020.
He said the shareholders expected more robust results next year since the economy is already picking up, noting that for the company to have performed excellently under pandemic, then next year will be greater for all.
Founder, Independent Shareholders Association, Sir Sunny Nwosu said the management of DSR led by  Dangote has never let the shareholders down for once  pointing out that the management style is second to none, which has made the company to be growing steadily.
According to him, the way the company has been executing its BIP projects was also commendable as this will afford the company opportunity to meet target within it projected timelines.
Dangote Sugar Refinery is Nigerias largest producer of household and commercial sugar with 1.44M MT refining capacity at the same location. Its refinery located at Apapa Wharf Ports Complex, refines raw sugar imported from Brazil to white, Vitamin A fortified refined granulated white sugar suitable for household and industrial uses.
Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc acquired Savannah Sugar Company Limited, located in Numan, Adamawa State in December 2012, and embarked on the ongoing rehabilitation of its facilities and expansion of its 32,000 hectares sugarcane estate. In September 2020, the scheme of merger between DSR and Savannah Sugar estate was completed which gave birth to a bigger and stronger business with considerable opportunity for growth and delivery of superior benefits to all stakeholders. The expansion and rehabilitation of the sugar estate is still ongoing as well as the development of the greenfield site acquired at Tunga, Nasarawa State for the achievement of DSRs sugar for Nigeria development master plan.
The Nasarawa Sugar Company Limited, is the registered subsidiary of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc. The 78,136 hectares Sugar Project Site is located at Tunga, Awe Local Government Area, of Nasarawa State. Massive developments in agriculture, irrigation infrastructure amongst others is ongoing at the site. Unfortunately, Lau/Tau project is still on hold following the lingering compensation issue between the communities and Taraba state government.

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