Founder and Chief Executive officer, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) Plc, Mr. Austin Okere has noted that the company has the potential to become the next Google, given the business prospects of her new business model, CWG 2.0. The CWG boss made this point while addressing the company’s shareholders at the 9th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Thursday, 19th of June, in Lagos.
The event had in attendance the company’s chairman, Chief Willie Belonwu, Executive Directors: Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Austin Okere, Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Phillip Obioha, Chief Technology Officer, Mr. James Agada; Non-Executive Directors, Mr. Abiodun Fawunmi and Mr. Ravi Sharma, represented by Alternate Director, Mr. kunle Ayodeji; company Secretary, Barrister Okey Ejibe, shareholders, the media and other stakeholders.
In his opening statement, the company’s Chairman, Chief Willie Belonwu observed that “CWG Plc has been able to record strong top line financial figures in the past year, against a volatile backdrop of increments in commodity prices, tariffs and a steady depreciation of the local currency (at the interbank market), coupled with steady decrease in the margins of products and services. The results which showed strong and positive performances across all financial indices also confirmed the company’s position as the foremost Pan African ICT services Provider”
In reference to the future of the company, Chief Belonwu noted that CWG Plc plans to further tap into the growth potentials of emerging African Economies, through the provision of cloud based IT solutions, in the bid to attain her vision to be the number 1 IT utility enabler in Africa.
The Company’s financial scorecard revealed that her revenues grew by 10% while Profit After Tax (PAT) increased by a whopping 81% showing strong efficiency of operations. The result revealed a Return on Equity of 13% in 2013, as against 11% in 2012 and Returns on Capital Employed (ROCE) of 13% against 7% in 2012. The Company’s Asset increased by N2bn to N13.4bn as at 2013 year end, while Shareholders’ equity increased by a remarkable 66% to N5.0bn in the same period. The Company finished with a strong cash position of over N1.1bn at the year end, with a 38% increase in cash from operation over 2012.
Shareholders at the event were informed of the payment of their 8 kobo dividends per unit share, the same day.
According to Mr. Okere, CWG 2.0 is a subscription business model and driven by the quest to help Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) grow and make notable social impact. This includes Openshopen, a website that affords shop owners open their own virtual store online and SMERP, an enterprise resource planning solution that will help business owners manage their business inventories on a subscription basis.
According to him, Openshopen will allow business owners to open their own online virtual stores which will give their businesses visibility leverages. “If a buyer searches for a shop that sells spare parts in your location online, for example, he can get to see your store address and get to buy from you without any stress, if you have registered your presence online” he said. Moreover, the solution will democratize domain possession and give Micro, Small and Medium business owners the platform to compete with known online stores at cheaper rates.
Mr. Okere also pointed out that these solutions will have significant social impacts on the society. According to him, there are about 17.7 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Nigeria. “With their own online stores and with the aid of enterprise resource planning, we will empower SMEs to be able to keep their own records. Then, they can present their records to get credits from the banks. With these loans, they can be able to expand their businesses. If they are able to expand their businesses, each of them can employ one more person. If each of them employs one more person, we will end up creating 17.7 million more jobs. The unemployment rate in Nigeria is about 23%, which amounts to about 16 million jobless youths. With this development, we will eradicate unemployment and have more jobs to spare” he added.
The advent of CWG 2.0 has positioned us to be next Google or Facebook and make significant global impact. And this vision is attainable because our solutions are not only profitable but they are repeatable, scalable and sustainable. He concluded.
The event also witnessed the election of Mr. Emmanuel Ijewere to the board of directors as a Non-Executive Director. Mr. Ijewere is an astute accountant, who had served as president to various notable organizations, such as the institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Red Cross Society, Institute of Directors and others. In the same vein, three other shareholders were also elected as members of the audit committee, while Ernst and Young was appointed as the company’s auditor for another year.