L-R: Julius Berger Financial Director, Martin Brack; Company Secretary, Mrs. Cecilia E. Madueke; Chairman, Mutiu Sunmonu, CON; Managing Director, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter; and Executive Director Administration, Alhaji Zubairu Bayi, at the company’s virtual Annual General Meeting anchored from Abuja last Thursday
Nigeria’s leading and legacy engineering construction company, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, on Thursday, 18 June, innovatively beat all logistical challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and held its 2020 Annual General Meeting.
The meeting was anchored from Abuja the Nigerian capital where the head office of the corporation is located. Shareholders also participated from the company’s facility in Lagos.
The virtually coordinated and transmitted meeting was effectively directed by the company’s Chairman, Mutiu Sunmonu, CON. Managing Director of the company, Engr. Dr. Lars Richter, commenced his remarks at the AGM with a celebration of Julius Berger’s golden jubilee, the 50th anniversary since the corporation, fondly called JB by Nigerians, was registered as a Nigerian company.
It is noteworthy that, at both locations, strict compliance with COVID-19 prevention protocols as prescribed by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was seriously put in place and maintained throughout the meeting.
The Managing Director reviewed Julius Berger’s business for the reporting year, 2019, with a specific focus on the current status of the company’s operations since the COVID-19 pandemic, with a projection on the company’s outlook for 2020 and beyond.
Richter recalled that Julius Berger arrived Nigeria as a Special Project Vehicle in 1965 for the construction of the still standing and strong Eko Bridge in Lagos, and was formally incorporated as a Nigerian company in February 1970.
Since incorporation in Nigeria, Julius Berger has relentlessly worked with best international quality and top-notch engineering standards to become the country’s leading domestic construction company.
Richter said: “…this year, we celebrate five decades of achievement …and each of these five decades has been a building block to our success and growth”.
Richter christened the 1970s the decade of many pioneering engineering and business firsts for Julius Berger in Nigeria, including the first project completed outside of Lagos, the Laminga Dam; the first major road contract for the Lagos inner ring road; the company’s first industrial contract for the turnkey construction of the Volkswagen assembly plant; and the contract for building the Tin Can Island port, completed in an incredible time span of 18 months.
Julius Berger in the 1980s, Richter said, took a big leap forward as the company acquired and reliably completed major projects, such as the initial infrastructure for the then-new Federal Capital, Abuja; the Jos Steel Rolling Mill; the Ajaokuta Steel Plant; the new Carter bridge in Lagos; the Niger River road bridge; and works for the Itakpe-Ajaokuta railway project, thus, establishing itself firmly as a key contributor to Nigeria’s development.
Still on the proud history of the company, Richter said that, in the 90s, Julius Berger continued to grow and evolve, transforming into a Public Limited Company and gained entry into the Oil and Gas industry through civil works lots for Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) trains 1 & 2 on Bonny Island.
Dr. Richter referred to the next phase of the company’s growth, the early 2000s, as “…the golden years, in which the company expanded its reputation and reach, achieving ISO certification and working on landmark projects such as the CBN head office, the Escravos gas-to-liquids Plant, the Tinapa Business Center, the National Stadium and Velodrome in Abuja and more”.
On the future outlook for the company’s business, the MD remains reasonably hopeful, saying that “strengthening Julius Berger’s core construction business, client mix and the group’s subsidiaries as well as diversification with a greater balance of private sector projects will act as a support to shore up opportunities beyond the company’s core business”.
Richter added that “…in the public sector, focus will remain on successfully executing projects of national priority”.
Julius Berger, Dr. Richter confidently asserted, continues to be in a strong position to succeed.
According to Richter, “Our reputation for reliability and record of success provides clients strong assurance that no matter the requirement, Julius Berger will always deliver… Through the introduction of new and efficient technologies, we continue to be unmatched in our ability to pioneer time and cost-saving construction methodologies that add value.
Our quality sets the bar in Nigeria and ISO Certification demonstrates that our Quality Management Systems support consistency and excellence in operations.
Julius Berger’s resources, the strongest of which is its highly skilled staff, remain unmatched in the Nigerian construction sector”.
Julius Berger paid out a dividend of two Naira for every share of 50Kobo held as well as a bonus share to shareholders for the business year ended December 31, 2019.
An investor with the company, Mr Matthew Akinlade happily enthused: “Julius Berger is the delight of investors in Nigeria any day”.
Worthy of note was the fact that the AGM held with Board members, Shareholders, regulators, auditors, registrars and members of the media sitting in at two co-locations in Abuja and Lagos.
While the company Chairman, Mr. Mutiu Sunmonu, CON, coordinated and directed the meeting from Abuja, Mr Ernest Chukwudi Ebi, MFR, FCIB (Board member) and Mrs. Gladys Talabi (Board member) as well as other shareholders and stakeholders attended and sat in on the meeting at the Lagos venue of the meeting.