Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc on Thursday said it recorded a profit of N73 billion for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2018.

Speaking at the company’s sixth Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, Seplat Chairman, Dr ABC Orjiako, said the profit rose by 480 per cent when compared with N13 billion in 2017.

Orjiako who assured the shareholders of increased value creation and capital appreciation said revenue during the period stood at N220 billion against N137 billion in 2017.

“A review of Seplat’s 2018 results indicates positive performance across all financial indices, confirming the company’s position as one of the well managed indigenous oil firms in Nigeria,’’ he said.

Seplat’s operating profit stood at ₦95 billion as at review period, representing a growth of 177 per cent over the ₦34 billion it recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

The company’s net profit after tax dipped by 45 per cent from ₦81 billion to ₦45 billion during the period under review.

Orjiako said the company’s 2018 operational and financial performance reflected the significantly higher year-on-year levels of production uptime at its core oil producing assets combined with a firmer, “albeit still volatile, oil price and increased contribution from the company’s gas business.

“As you are aware, our results from the previous two years were characterised by the extended period of force majeure at the Forcados terminal from February 2016 to June 2017.

“As we enter 2019, our reliable production base, low unit cost of production and discretion over capital commitments will allow the business to remain highly free cash flow generative and profitable.

“In the absence of any major interruption or force majeure event, this will enable Seplat to honour its dividend policy and provide an attractive yield to our shareholders in addition to the potential for capital appreciation,” Orjiako said.

He noted that the company would selectively invest in low risk oil production drilling opportunities within its existing portfolio.

The chairman added that the company would continue the expansion of its gas business, and intensify the development of its large scale Assa-North and Ohaji-South (ANOH) gas and condensate plants in 2019.

He added: “Seplat remains an ambitious growth-orientated company that is in a position of strength to capture inorganic opportunities where we can leverage our competitive advantages to seek out carefully considered, price disciplined and value accretive acquisition.’’

Mr Austin Avuru, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, said Seplat had an excellent outing resulting in robust profitability and cash flow generation that would lead to solid foundation for growth in the coming years.

“At our core assets in the West, OMLs 4, 38 and 41, the extension of the license to 2038 means that we can confidently plan and invest long into the future to realise the full potential of those blocks.

“As Seplat continues to enhance production and revenue diversification with new wells scheduled at OML 53 in the East, the board took the Final Investment Decision to invest in the large scale ANOH gas and condensate development, which will form the next phase of transformational growth for our gas business.

“Disciplined capital allocation continues to remain at the core of our activities evidenced by our continual deleveraging of our debt levels to the current balance of US$350m,” he added.

Avuru noted that Seplat’s board had recommended a final dividend of $0.05 per share to all its shareholders.