Shareholders of ADNOC Distribution the UAE’s largest fuel and convenience retailer, approved a significant increase in the company’s dividend policy on back of a strong 2018 financial performance and cash position.
Under the new policy, the ADNOC Distribution will increase its annual dividend payment, starting in 2019, ADNOC said in a statement.
An annual dividend for fiscal year 2019 will be AED 2.39 billion (US$650 million), equivalent to AED 0.1910 per share and a 63 per cent increase compared to 2018. For the coming year, the approved annual dividend will be AED 2.57 billion (USD 700 million), equivalent to AED 0.2057 per share, a 75 per cent increase compared to 2018. The company will also have a minimum pay-out of 75 per cent of distributable profits from 2021 onwards, the statement said.
ADNOC Distribution will continue to pay half of the annual dividend in October of the relevant year and half in April of the following year.
Backed by a long-term, sustainable growth plan and supported by a solid balance sheet and strong cash flow generation, the new policy reflects the shareholders’ trust in the company, following its robust financial performance in 2018, during which the company reported AED 2.128 billion in net profit, an increase of 18 per cent from 2017, ADNOC said.
ADNOC Distribution shareholders also approved a second and final dividend payment of AED 735 million (AED 0.0588 per share) for the year ended 31 December 2018. This dividend payment comes on top of an initial AED 735 million (AED 0.0588 per share) dividend payment for the year, which was paid in October 2018, resulting in a full-year dividend of AED 1.47 billion (AED 0.1176 per share), consistent with ADNOC Distribution’s commitments to its shareholders at the time of its initial public offering (IPO).
H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, ADNOC Distribution’s chairman, said: “ADNOC Distribution’s impressive 2018 performance illustrates the Company’s strong financial position, with an enhanced level of profitability, healthy margins, and strong cash flow generation. The new dividend policy approved today demonstrates our commitment to our shareholders and our confidence in the Company’s future prospects and growth strategy. As we expand the ADNOC Distribution business, we will continue to look at both organic and inorganic growth options to deliver ambitious, but disciplined growth that delivers attractive returns.”
ADNOC Distribution delivered on its 2018 commitments, opening 19 new stations which contributed to increases in revenue and EBITDA of 16 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. Highlights of ADNOC Distribution’s performance in 2018 include the opening of 17 new service stations in the UAE, including the company’s first 3 locations in Dubai and the opening of the first two service stations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Saeed Mubarak Al Rashdi, ADNOC Distribution’s acting chief executive officer, said: “ADNOC Distribution is operating from a position of strength. Our balance sheet is strong, and we continue to generate significant cash flow. We have an extremely compelling investment proposition that we expect to continue into 2019 and beyond with up to $300 million of CAPEX earmarked for further growth 2019. We successfully implemented our 2018 strategy by providing more choice to our customers, improving our convenience store offering, and being more cost efficient. In addition, we focused on transforming our internal structures, processes and culture to ensure that we harness all of our employees to drive high performance and sustainable growth.”
At the General Assembly, shareholders also approved a plan to allow ADNOC Distribution to implement a share buyback scheme. The option, which remains subject to approval of the UAE Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), would allow ADNOC Distribution to buy back up to 62.5 million shares, equivalent to 5 per cent of its free float, during a twelve-month period, should it choose to do so.
Approval of the share buyback reflects the Board’s opinion that the stock is trading below levels consistent with its view of the Company’s growth prospects. If implemented, advance notice of the plan would be announced in accordance with SCA regulations.
ADNOC Distribution will be holding capital markets days in London and New York on May 7th and 8th, at which further details of its growth strategy will be presented. Coverage of the event will be available on the ADNOC Distribution website.