A profit decline worth over N600 million within a 1-year period is more than enough to throw any concerned shareholder in a frenzy. Sadly, this is the reality for Conoil Plc, according to its latest unaudited earnings report.
The company’s Q1 2020 result seemed impressive, with about N260 million worth of profit after tax (PAT) reported. Ideally, this ought to have been a sign of good performances for the subsequent quarters of the year. Unfortunately, this hasn’t quite been the case.
The appalling nature of the second quarter (Q2) results was partly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the recent reduction in fuel pump price by the federal government. As you may well know, the virus hit Nigeria at the start of April 2020, thereby ushering Q2 economic activities and operations into a compulsory lockdown. These notwithstanding, no one could have anticipated a revenue plunge 70% deep in the span of 6 months between Q1 and Q2.
Conoil Plc has an impressive reputation as a market leader playing in Nigeria’s downstream oil and gas sector. Due to the company’s positioning in the downstream sector, it is seldom directly affected by events in the often volatile global oil market… until now.
The Nigeria-based company was also hit hard when the federal government decided to allow market forces to determine the price of the pump in the country. The price was reduced to 125p/ltr from 145 p/ltr in late March this year. This contributed to the derisory N19.3 billion posted as Q2 revenue.
The oil giant is in the business of marketing, distributing, and manufacturing under three business products, representing its operating segments. They market refined petroleum products and manufacture lubricants and household Liquified petroleum gas (LPGs) for domestic and industrial use. The three segments; White products (PMS, DPK, LPFO AGO), Lubricants, and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), individually and respectively experienced poor turnover in Q2.
Conoil’s recently released financial statement exposes arguably its worst Q2 figure in a couple of years, with Profit after tax (PAT) standing at a paltry N78.3 million. This pales significantly in comparison to Q1 PAT figure of N260 million representing a colossal 70% negative change and an 88.9% decline when compared to Q2 of 2019 with PAT of N707 million.
Revenue for the H1 peaks at N57.5 billion (although comparatively way below H1 2019 at N72 billion YoY) with Q2 Contributing a meager 16% N19.3 billion. Fundamental analysis of the financials, exposes that the sporadic shrink in turnover for Q2 could be attributable to these two major reasons. Firstly, the general lull in economic activities sponsored by the COVID-19 pandemic. This affected CONOIL’s marketable segment, halving the sales figures for white products by approximately 50% from N36.5 billion to N18 billion in Q1 & Q2 respectively. Manufactured lubricants also experienced a 7.7% dip in Q2 at N1.2 billion from N1.7 billion in Q1. The second cause as hitherto stated was the reduction in fuel pump price N145 to N125, for the first time since 2016.
The impact of such a decline in revenue is humongous. It questions the company’s ability to effectively service its debt obligations in the next quarter as well as providing adequate cover for its cost of sales and other expenses.
Investors are reputed to be ruthless pragmatics who accord more importance to the fine-prints than selling price when making purchasing decisions. Thus they often would place emphasis on the statement of cash flow as opposed to the income statement.
Conoil must stay aware and strive in Q3 to maintain a positive net cash position since Q1 & Q2 bear negative balances of N2billion and N1.2billion respectively. Negative cash flow is always a worrying omen. With current ratio for Q2 at 1.47:1 indicating the Oil giant’s relatively unconvincing ability to comfortably settle its liquidity problems if they arise.