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Dangote Cement tops best performing cement stock in Q1 2024 

Amidst economic challenges, the Nigerian stock market has showcased resilience, experiencing significant growth in the first quarter of 2024. 

Starting the year at 74,774.73 points, the NGX surged by 39.84%, representing 87% of the total growth achieved in 2023. Market capitalization also surged, increasing by N18.2 trillion to close at N59.13 trillion in Q1 2024. 

 The exceptional performance of the market was driven by the exceptional performance of individual stocks, among them the cement companies.  The three listed Cement companies; BUA Cement, Dangote Cement, and Lafarge (WAPCO) total market capitalization moved up to N17.164 trillion in Q1 2024 from N9.244 trillion as of December 2023. This represents about 29% of the N59.13 trillion total market capitalization. 

Dangote Cement spearheaded the surge in market capitalization. As we transition into Q2, it becomes imperative to scrutinize the performance of these stocks to assist investors in making informed decisions regarding their positions. 

LAFARGE-WAPCO + 20.79% YtD 

Lafarge’s share price appreciated by 20.79% in Q1 2024, representing approximately two-thirds of its overall share price growth in 2023. 

At the close of the quarter, the stock reached N38.05, from its opening price of N24.00.  This ranks the company in the 3rd spot behind BUA Cement and Dangote Cement in terms of share price appreciation and 33rd on the NGX. 

Lafarge’s audited results for 2023 reveal that its revenue and profitability growth rates have fallen short of its long-term growth trends. 

Despite recording an 8% increase in revenue, this growth lags its five-year compound annual growth rate of 13.74%. Similarly, the company experienced a 4.7% decline in profits, trailing its five-year compound annual growth rate of 26%. 

These figures suggest that Lafarge’s recent performance in terms of revenue and profitability has not been as robust as its historical growth rates. 

However, the fact that the share price is rallying above earnings implies that investors may be pricing in future growth expectations or other factors beyond the company’s current financial performance. This could indicate a level of optimism or speculation in the market regarding Lafarge’s prospects.  

Overall, the first-quarter growth suggests that an initial investment of N1,000,000 at the beginning of the year would have yielded an unrealized gain of N207,937. This calculation excludes the expected dividend income of N60,317 based on the assumed investment sum.   

The company announced a dividend of N1.90 per share for the 2023 fiscal year, representing a 5% decrease from its payout in the 2022 fiscal year, which is expected to be paid on April 26, 2024. 

BUA Cement +47.63% YtD 

BUA Cement recorded the second-highest share price appreciation in Q1 2024. The company’s share price increased by 47.63%, reaching N143.20 per share, and its market capitalization rose to N4.85 trillion from N3.28 trillion in 2023 

The sustainability of the company’s share price trend hinges on investor sentiment, which is contingent upon the company’s ability to maintain growth, create value, and deliver returns.  

In terms of revenue, the company demonstrates both short-term and long-term growth, with its 2023 revenue growth of 27% surpassing its five-year growth rate of 25%. The company appears to have better short-term and long-term growth.  In fact, its 2023 revenue growth of 27% surpassed its 5-year growth rate of 25%.  

Despite this relatively robust revenue growth, BUA Cement experienced a higher decline in profit, amounting to 31% YoY in 2023, resulting in a decrease in the profit margin to 15%. 

However, analysts anticipate that earnings per share will rise to N3.27 in 2024 from the N2.05 recorded in 2023 and N2.93 in 2022. This anticipated increase may have influenced its high earnings multiples of 69.85x and price-to-sales ratio of 10.54x, which are the highest among the cement producers. 

Dangote Cement +115% YtD 

Dangote Cement leads the pack with an impressive 115% year-to-date (YtD) share price growth in Q1.  

It began the year with a share price of N319.90 and closed Q1 at N689.70, driving its market capitalization to N11.702 trillion, the highest on the NGX and ranking third in terms of share price appreciation. 

Consequently, it also offers the highest unrealized gain of about N1.147 million, assuming an initial investment of N1,000,000 at the beginning of the year.  

Moreover, investors can anticipate a dividend income following Dangote Cement’s decision to increase its dividend payout by 50% to N30 per share for the 2023 financial year, with payment scheduled for April 29, 2024. This 50% increase in dividend payout exceeds that of its peers.  

Dangote Cement recorded the highest profitability growth and value among the cement producers. It achieved a profit after tax growth of 19% YoY reaching N455.583 billion in 2023, surpassing its long-term annual growth of 17%.  

Earnings per share are expected to reach N34.41 in 2024 from the N26.28 in 2023. This expected increase in EPS signals improved profitability and may continue to reinforce investor confidence.   

Even at the seemingly elevated share price, Dangote Cement’s price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of 25.94x and price-to-sales ratio of 5.23, both lower than the average ratios of cement producers indicate that investors are paying relatively less for each unit of earnings or sales compared to other companies in the same sector.  

This observation holds, even if these ratios may appear high compared to certain benchmarks. 

 


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