Ellah Lakes Plc, the only diversified Agribusiness operator listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange, and recently acquired by new shareholders has recorded significantly positive developments.
The company is now recapitalised with improved solvency status and a tangible asset base in excess of N5.0bn
Jamie Rixton, the company’s Chief Agronomist, while making a virtual presentation of the company’s ‘Fact Behind Figures’ on the floor of the Nigeria Stock Exchange, said significant land bank development with over 10,000 hectares would be acquired by end of June, 2021 for the purpose of using it for diversified agribusiness.
He said the company is now a diversified and fully integrated agriculture play across five (5) crops – Oil Palm, Soyabeans, Maize, Cocoa & Cassava.
According to him, over 1,000 workers are expected to be engaged in peak season. This will include the company’s own plantation staff and seasonal workers, health clinic registered nurses and teachers. Another 2,400 indirect jobs are to be created.
Sixty- three percent (63% ) of direct staff are from local community and host state. Additional 4,000 direct and 19,000 indirect jobs are to be created through it out-growers program and newly leased lands.
According to the company’s strategic outlook, it is expected to complete N940mn funding under Central Bank of Nigeria Real Sector Support Facility and await final Drawdown by the end of this June.
Preparatory activities for Sukuk Programme and efforts to complete Certificate of Occupancy on 10,000 hectares of land from the governments of Ekiti and Ondo States are going to be the major focus of the company in this second quarter of 2021
By third quarter of 2021, it will Launch a Sukuk programme while it continues engagement on a third party equity capital raise.
Discussions for land acquisition in Liberia, Ghana and Sierra Leone are also expected to be concluded by the fourth quarter of 2021.
Completion of land preparation in Ekiti & Ondo as well as Planting programme for Soya, Maize and Cassava would commence by Q4 2021 according to the company’s plan
As from Q3, 2022, harvesting and re-planting of Soya, Cassava & Maize as well as plantation maintenance for Cocoa and Oil Palm would continue.
Chuka Mordi, managing director of the company, disclosed that it has deployed an Offtake led commercial strategy with blue-chip, investment grade counterparties.
He said under new ownership, Ellah Lakes Plc is on a path of shareholder value creation, offering the investing public a diversified and efficiently managed base for risk calibrated Agribusiness returns.
Speaking on its corporate Social responsibility of Ellah, he stated that it has adopted 268-pupils primary school and provide scholarships to students in the local community including the provision of maintenance and repairs of dilapidated school infrastructure.
Other activities being carried out to improve the relationship between the company and host communities include, training program for teachers, water supply to the local communities with the drilling of boreholes, support for local farmers through the supply of input – seeds, fertilisers and medical outreach programmes where necessary
Ellah Lakes Plc he said has put in place a corporate governance framework that will aid sustainable value creation for its stakeholders. “We hold ourselves to high standards of governance that is expected of us from our shareholders and regulator and as is befitting of our vision to become the leading supplier of sustainable edible oils and starch to the FMCG Industry in Nigeria, particularly, and West Africa, in general.”
“The Company has a 12-man board which comprises 4 independent directors as§ stipulated by law. We have 4 existing board committees in accordance with good corporate governance practices. The Company has a dedicated compliance team, with the responsibility to ensure§ that all regulatory reporting and filings are done on time as required by law. Free Float: The Company’s free float status remains a priority for the Board. We§ are working together with our advisers and the Exchange on ensuring that the required free float percentage is achieved in the shortest possible time.”