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Analysis: Nigerian Breweries, the glory days are gone

These days, the story is somewhat underwhelming for Nigerian Breweries and every year it gets worse, as the brewery giant reported a profit after tax of N16 billion from revenue of about N323 billion only

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Nigerian Breweries, the glory days are gone

The year is 2013 and Nigerian Breweries did something quite remarkable. It just reported a profit after tax of N43 billion and a return on equity of 41.9%. That year, Nigeria Breweries also reported revenues of N268.6 billion and paid over N34 billion in dividends. Also, it had just N9 billion in external debts in 2013. Those were the good old days.

These days, however, the story is somewhat underwhelming and every year it gets worse. In 2019, the brewery giant reported a profit after tax of N16 billion from revenue of about N323 billion only. Return on equity is 11.54% while dividends are just about N18 billion. The directors of the company have recommended that they pay out the entire profits and even more as dividends. It now has about N55 billion in total external debts in 2019.

Corruption, Vervelde, Nigerian Breweries, Nigerian Breweries mentioned in corruption case, company reacts , Nigerian Breweries Plc announces dividend payout for 2019 

Nicolaas Vervelde-MD-Nigerian-Breweries-Plc

Nigeria’s brewery sector is facing a potential implosion with intense competition, harsh economy, unfavourable government policies and changing taste of consumers haemorrhaging top and bottom line. Despite splashing the cash on brand ambassadors like Burna Boy and spending billions on events and advertisement, it is still finding it extremely difficult to get younger Nigerians to embrace its 21 flagship brands.

Revenue has grown by over N100 billion since 2013 but it has come at a significant cost to the business. Last year (2019), the company reported that it had spent about N77.6 billion on marketing and distribution expenses, a whopping 24% of revenue. It spent 19.5% of revenue on marketing and distribution expenses in 2016 and 15.9% in 2013, its year of profits. Marketing and distribution expenses have almost doubled from N42.9bilion to N77.6 billion in 6 years.

[READ MORE: Nigerian Breweries goes to the retail lab)

But what else can the company do? It can’t just fold its arm against stiff competition and watch its market share and inventors confidence erode. Management probably once in while takes solace at the performance of Guinness, thanking their stars (no pun intended) that they are much better. It’s brutal out there and the beer makers know it’s only going to get worse. Who knows who will be left standing 10 years from now? For Heineken, its majority shareholder, it keeps investing and taking a pint of their return.

The parent company with 55.9% ownership of the company will get about N10 billion out of the dividend of N18 billion. In addition, it earns royalties and technical fees of N7.2 billion or 2.2% of revenues but 45% of profits as royalty and technical fees.

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Back to 2013, the company paid N9.36 billion (3.4% of revenues or 21.7% of profits ) as royalty and technical service fees. Shareholders will be reminded quite clearly that the parent company continues to invest heavily in its Nigerian subsidiary.

About N30.1 billion was spent in 2019 (N30.3 billion in 2018) on property plant and equipment out of which “returning packaging materials” was N10 billion. To date, the company has spent N125 billion out of its N446 billion property plant and equipment in returning packaging plant and equipment. Only Plant and Machinery at N189 billion is worth more. Suffice to add that it’s the current market valuation of N411 billion is just 1.07X total assets and 2.45X net assets.

It’s thus petrifying to be reminded that at N55 per share and 25x price to earnings ratio, Nigeria Breweries stock may well be overvalued. It’s is highly unlikely that it will grow its earnings per share that aggressively. Despite paying its entire profits as dividends and more, its dividend yield will be 5% at the current share price of N55.

Year to date, the stock is down 12.7% and could likely remain depressed amidst a rather gloomy economic outlook. With inflation skyrocketing and disposable income of consumers taking a hit, the horizon for Nigeria Breweries is nowhere near its glory days.

Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

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    Blurb

    GSK in big trouble as losses mount

    The results were less than impressive with several key indicators showing a year-on-year decline.

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    GSK Consumer Nigeria Plc records 3.34% increase in 2020 9M revenues.

    GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc (“GSK Plc” or “the Company”) is a public limited liability company with 46.4% of the shares of the Company held by Setfirst Limited and Smithkline Beecham Limited (both incorporated in the United Kingdom); and 53.6% held by Nigerian shareholders.

    The ultimate parent and controlling party is GlaxoSmithKline Plc, United Kingdom (GSK Plc UK). The parent company controls GSK Plc through Setfirst Limited and Smithkline Beecham Limited.

    The Company recently published its unaudited first quarter (Q1) 2021 consolidated financial statements for the period ended 31 March 2021.

    The results were less than impressive with several key indicators showing a year-on-year decline. For example, Group revenue (turnover) declined from ₦4.99 billion in Q1 2020 to ₦3.46 billion in Q1 2021 a drop of over 30.66%. The revenue drop was due to a sharp decline in the local sale of its healthcare products.

    Total loss after tax as of Q1 2021 was ₦238.07 million compared to a profit after tax of ₦113.47 million for the same period to Q1 2020.

    The company is essentially divided into two segments viz: Consumer Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals. While the Healthcare segment was largely profitable in Q1 2021 (making a profit before tax of ₦ 8.73 million by March 31, 2021, the pharmaceuticals segment made a loss of ₦262.93 million in the same period.

    The Consumer Healthcare segment of the company consists of oral health products, digestive health products, respiratory health products, pain relievers, over the counter medicines, and nutritional healthcare; while the pharmaceutical segment consists of antibacterial medicines, vaccines, and prescription drugs. While goods for the consumer healthcare segment are produced in the country, the pharmaceuticals are all imported.

    The largely imported pharmaceutical products are thus exposed to the vagaries of foreign currency fluctuations coupled with a negligible to no revenue from the foreign sale of its healthcare products (same as in Q1 2020) as it barely exports its products out of the country.

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    The cost of importing the antibacterial, vaccines and prescription drugs, and the significant local operating expenses wiped off the marginal gross profits made by the pharmaceutical segment of the company. In effect, the gross profit of ₦508.12 million made by the pharmaceutical segment of the company was eliminated by an operating expense of ₦735.7 million and this resulted in a net loss for the pharmaceutical segment of the business.

    Apart from the impact of imported pharmaceutical products as already discussed, other issues that affected the company’s Q1 2021 results and are likely to continue to affect its performance in future include:

    1. A limited product mix that has only the likes of Macleans and Sensodyne (Oral Healthcare); Pain relievers (Panadol and Voltaren); Digestive Health (Andrews Liver Salt); and Respiratory Health (Otrivin and Panadol Cold and Catarrh) all within the Consumer Healthcare segment.
    2. Increased competition, particularly from local pharmaceutical manufactures of similar over the counter medicines and other prescription medications and vaccines.

    In addition, in October 2016, GSK Plc divested its drinks bottling and distribution business that manufactures and distributes Lucozade and Ribena in Nigeria, and other assets including the factory used for the drinks business to Suntory Beverage & Food Limited. The loss in revenue from these popular brands continues to impact its topline.

    GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a global healthcare company and is well-known and acknowledged for its pioneering role in discovering and distributing vaccines for the likes of hepatitis A and B, meningitis, tetanus, influenza, rabies, typhoid, chickenpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, cervical cancer and many more.

    It is also renowned for its manufacture and distribution of prescription medicines such as antibiotics and treatments for such ailments as asthma, HIV/AIDS, malaria, depression, migraines, diabetes, heart failure, and digestive disorders.

    Perhaps GSK Plc’s fortunes may change if the company is able to obtain the parent company’s licence to manufacture GSK-owned vaccines and prescription medicines within the country while also exploring the possibility of extending the sale of its products outside the shores of the country.

    Since different expertise is required for vaccines and prescription drug manufacture and distribution as compared to manufacture and sale of consumer healthcare products, perhaps another alternative may be for the company to create two separate companies with one company being a 100% vaccines and prescription drug pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution company while the second company specializes entirely in the manufacture and sale of consumer healthcare products.

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    As a result of the Q1 2021 performance, the company’s earnings per share (EPS) dropped to -20 kobo compared to the 9 kobo earnings per share reported in Q1 2020. At the start of 2021, GSK Plc’s share price was ₦6.90 but the company has since lost over 10% of its price valuation as the company’s share price closed at ₦6.20 on April 30, 2021.

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    Blurb

    NB Plc’s share price and dividends keeping shareholders happy

    It was not all hunky-dory for the company as its cost of sales jumped from N48.3 billion in Q1 2020 to N66 billion in Q1 2021.

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    Jordi Borrut Bel, Nigerian Breweries Plc

    Nigerian Breweries Plc (“NB Plc” or the “Company”) reported its first-quarter (Q1) 2021 results on April 23, 2021.

    The company’s performance was impressive considering the headwinds it faced late in 2020 and early 2021 from inflationary pressures, poor consumer purchasing power, lethargic economic growth, and increase in the company’s beer prices which took effect from Q4 2020.

    The company achieved a net revenue for the three months to March 31, 2021 of N105.68 billion compared to N83.23 billion for the same period to March 31, 2020 — a 27% increase compared to the Q1 2020 results.

    It also achieved a N39.67 billion gross profit — a 13.7% increase in gross profit compared to Q1 2020.

    Quarter-on-quarter EBITDA rose by 22.8% from N19.82 billion in Q1 2020 to N24.34 billion in Q1 2021. Other positive outcomes quarter on quarter were the increase in operating income (from N10.94 billion to N14.49 billion), profit before tax (from N8.3 billion to N11.51 billion), and profit after tax (from N5.53 billion to N7.66 billion).

    It was not all hunky-dory for the company as its cost of sales (direct costs attributable to NB Plc’s production) jumped from N48.3 billion in Q1 2020 to N66 billion in Q1 2021, an increase of N17.7 billion. According to the company, its costs are subject to seasonal fluctuations as a result of weather conditions and festivities. As a result, the company’s results and volumes are dependent on the performance in the peak‐selling season, typically resulting in higher revenue and profitability in the last quarter of the year.

    The total cost of sales, marketing and distribution, and administration expenses grew from N72.47 billion in Q1 2020 to N91.63 billion in Q1 2021 – a jump of 26.43%. This jump was largely attributable to the cost of raw materials and consumables which grew to N46.53 billion (compared to N30.2 billion for the same period in Q1 2020).

    The raw materials cost pressure has been a trend since Q2 2020 driven by the rising commodity prices, foreign exchange devaluation and domestic inflationary pressures. As a result, the cost of the raw materials to net income ratio has continued to rise. This ratio was 36.3% in Q1 2020 but has risen to 44% in Q1 2021.

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    What may be a source of particular concern for the company is how well working capital is being managed from a liquidity and leverage perspective. The company reported cash and cash equivalents of N30.37 billion in Q1 2020, this had dropped to N18.43 billion by Q1 2021. In the same period, trade debtors and other receivables (i.e., those that owe the company for purchases that have not been paid for) had increased from N11.42 billion in Q1 2020 to N23.48 billion in Q1 2021, an increase of over 105% in just 12 months!

    More worrying, in terms of magnitude, are trade creditors and other payables (i.e., those that the company owes payments for goods and services purchased) which grew from N139.2 billion in Q1 2020 to N145.41 billion in Q1 2021, a rise of N6.21 billion (or 4.5%) in just 12 months.

    While the company’s loans and borrowings had reduced significantly (short-term loans in Q1 2021 was N35.65 billion versus N39.64 billion in Q1 2020; and long-term loans in Q1 2021 was N15.87 billion versus N51,81 billion in Q1 2020), the cost of borrowing, that is, interest expenses that the company paid on borrowed funds, rose from N2.7 billion in Q1 2020 to N3 billion in Q1 2021. This suggests that while short term and long-term borrowing have reduced, working capital needs are being refinanced at a higher cost or alternatively, most of the reduced short term or long-term borrowings have simply been restructured from longer-term loans to shorter-term overdrafts and commercial papers with a higher interest expense. The balance sheet as of Q1 2021 showed a liability in the form of bank overdraft and/or commercial papers of N21.44 billion which was not in the books in Q1 2020.

    The first-quarter report also showed that as of March 31, 2021, the company had revolving credit facilities with five Nigerian banks to finance its working capital with the approved limit of the loan with each of the banks ranging from N6 billion to N15 billion (total N66 billion). N9 billion of the available amount was utilized at end of March 2021 (2020: Nil).

    It should be noted that NB Plc’s financial statements for the 3 months ended 31st March 2021 are yet to be independently audited, so the results may be further improved or be worse, depending on the views and professional opinion of the external auditors in terms of accounting treatments and management judgement on significant transactions.

    From the company’s numbers and explanations, the results are clearly driven by:

    (1) Benefits from its increased pricing with the raised prices taking effect from December 10, 2020. The increases ranged from 5.2% to 6%, mainly on selected brands packaged in aluminium cans and on the 600-ml Star Larger returnable glass bottle.

    Jaiz bank

    (2) Volume growth in its premium brands (particularly Heineken) and non-alcoholic portfolio (particularly Maltina).

    (3) Relative inelastic demand for its portfolio mix despite price increases, availability of substitutes, and stagnate consumer wages eroded by inflation. In economics, inelastic demand occurs when the demand for a product remains static or changes less than changes in price.

    Overall, the company achieved outstanding results that would have confounded analysts’ estimates. Given continued inflationary trends and currency depreciation, it would be interesting to see whether turnover and profitability growth are sustainable over the remaining quarters of the year. On its financial year 2020 performance, the company paid a final dividend of NGN0.69 in April 2021 (interim of NGN0.25 paid in December 2020). If the trend is sustained, it can only be good news for NB Plc in terms of increases in its share price and dividends for its shareholders.

    Heineken Brouwerijen B.V owns 37.73% of the company to which NB Plc pays annual technical service fees and royalties.

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