Vision Group Chief Executive Officer Robert Kabushenga
The result announced and adopted on Thursday by the shareholders at the annual general meeting (AGM) partly prompted the board to among others reward shareholders with a modest sh50 (per share in dividend from sh35 in 2014. Sh3.8b will be paid out in dividends.
Profit after tax rose form sh3.1b to sh5.3b in a year in which the Uganda shilling has lost almost 30% of its value and the macroeconomic environment remains shaky with a spike in the general price level (inflation).
Vision Group’s news print and other materials are imported and the direct cost of importing them is greatly affected by a sliding local currency. This is because the company requires more shillings to buy dollars to buy newsprint yet the products are sold in the local currency.
Overall revenue grew to sh86.6b from sh82.9b while gross profit rose to sh7.4b from sh4.4b.
The stellar performance was endorsed by the assistant auditor general Keto Kayemba who said she was “extremely comfortable with the financial statements that have been provided” by the company.
The AGM was attended by two state ministers of finance – David Bahati (state for planning and Fred Omach (general duties).
Just before the AGM began, a video relaying the last AGM (2014) was played to members to which Board chairman David Ssebabi reminded shareholders that the promises of last year which was to improve financial performance had been fulfilled.
“This remarkable growth was amidst a tough operating environment, most business partners cut their advertising and it affected copy sales,” noted Ssebabi adding that in the year, Bukedde emerged the second fastest growing paper on the continent while Bukedde TV is the most watched TV station in Uganda.
The company chief executive Robert Kabushenga hailed the staff who work diligently to deliver a superior product.
Kabushenga pointed out that the company is now exploring new revenue streams in content production. He however pointed out that the unstable currency not only affects Vision Group but also its business partners especially those in import business.
Capt. Gad Gasaatura was re-elected as a director of the company. The director’s net allowance was maintained following a resolution of the board.
By David Mugabe, The New Vision