By Etuka Sunday
Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has won the Most Profitable Company (Oil & Gas: Exploration and Production), with Dr. ABC Orjiako, Chairman SEPLAT emerging as the Board Chairman of the Year at the Nigerian Investor Value Award (NIVA) organized by BusinessDay Media Limited in conjunction with the Nigerian Exchange Limited.
As the Most Profitable Company (Oil & Gas: Exploration and Production), SEPLAT was recognized for recording the highest percentage growth in profits year-on-year in its sector. The Company was said to have achieved this feat, while experiencing faster growth relative to its peers, and maintaining a relatively high operating performance.
“In 2020, like in previous years, SEPLAT has shown that its high profit margins are sustainable. Its strong profit position is not a flash in the pan, neither is it likely to be frittered away in coming years. This consistency has enabled the company to pay dividends regularly, service debts taken for recent strategic acquisitions, and underwrite new investments, while maintaining positive credit ratings,” the organizers explained.
In the same vein, the Board Chairman of the Year award recognizes a non-executive chairman or lead director who has demonstrated a passion for advancing the principles of good governance. Dr. Orjiako, according to the award organizers, have demonstrated the ability to objectively solve the most difficult boardroom challenges, with the proven experience to offer independent, sound guidance when the company faces hurdles and opportunities.
“Dr. A.B.C. Orjiako is selected as the winner of this award for leading the board of directors to set a strong corporate governance culture, and support for the executive management team in the enhancement of economic value with drive for Nigeria’s energy transition to gas fueling 30 per cent of Nigeria’s electricity supply,” the organizers noted.
The SEPLAT Chairman wass said to have distinguished himself by: superintending a seamless CEO transition with the exit of Mr. Austin Avuru, who completed a very successful tenure, and appointment of Mr. Roger Brown; overseeing the selection of a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Emeka Onwuka, who is a seasoned executive that brings experience from the highest levels in financial services to his new position.
He was said to have supported the Board refreshment with the onboarding of Mr. Olivier de Langavant, CEO of Maurel & Prom as a Non-Executive Director, following the retirement of Mr. Michel Hochard, who also represented the interests of Maurel & Prom; as well as the Board’s commitment to payment of dividends despite COVID-19 and sharp drop in global energy demand.
In the same year, the Board of Directors of the company also appointed Ms. Arunma Oteh and Mr. Xavier Rolet as independent non-executive directors.
The award also lauded Dr. Orjiako’s presentation of one of the most lucid Chairman’s letters in recent history by educating shareholders on the company’s operating environment, choices, strategy, and opportunities in a style that is both engaging, and transparent; and leading the board-approved plan to eliminate Related-Party Transactions (RPTs), surpassing even United Kingdom regulations on RPTs. P
In his address, the Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Mr. Temi Popoola, said the list of companies awarded showed a display of extraordinary courage and strength in a very challenged time.
In his remark, the Publisher, BusinessDay Media Limited, Mr. Frank Aigbogun, said the awards were indeed apt given the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic last year. According to him, the award recognized organisations that had displayed resilience and tact in the midst of adversity and uncertainty.
Commenting on the awards, the Director, External Affairs and Communications at SEPLAT, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, on behalf of the Board, management and staff of the Company, thanked BusinessDay and the Nigerian Exchange for the honour and recognition accorded SEPLAT.
She expressed the Company’s appreciation, saying the awards highlight the hard work and resilience displayed in the 2020 business year despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.
Dr. Nwachuku added: “Since inception, SEPLAT has continued to strive for operational excellence and sustainable value creation for all our stakeholders. The awards will continue to propel SEPLAT to greater achievements.”