Afriland Properties Plc has restated its commitment to bridging the country’s housing deficit as its shareholders endorsed a total dividend of N137.39 million for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2021. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the shareholders gave the approval at the company’s ninth Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Thursday in Lagos.
The dividend translates to 10k per ordinary shares when compared to 5k per share (N68.69 million) paid by the company in the comparative period of 2020. Chairman of Afriland Properties, Mr Emmanuel Nnorom, assured the shareholders that the company would remain committed to delivering enhanced return on their investments.
Nnorom said the company commenced and completed 22 projects during the period under review.
“Thirty one other projects are at various stages of completion across different locations in the country.
“The company’s revenue rose by eight per cent to N1.99 billion compared with N1.85 billion achieved in the preceding year.
“Profit before tax stood at N1.60 billion from N1.01 billion in 2020, indicating an increase of 58 per cent.
“In spite of the challenging business environment, the company recorded strong operating performance in revenue and profit,” he said.
Mrs Uzoamaka Oshogwe, the company’s Managing Director, said the company had been positioned to take advantage of government’s policy direction to enhance its market share.
She said the company would continue to embrace opportunities in the industry to fill the housing gap.
Oshogwe said the company remained committed to the provision of affordable homes to Nigerians and would work with the government to achieve it.
She stated that the company was positioned to take advantage of government’s policy direction and optimise future rental income from proprietary properties to maximise shareholders wealth.
“We will continue to explore the possibility of partnering reputable organisations and government to optimise our property portfolio to deliver superior value to shareholders.
“State and federal governments own land, they should give us some of the land so that we can build, taking away the cost of land from the total cost of development.
“We are already bringing down the cost of actually buying these properties from the lower cadre and we are hoping that the government is listening and some states are already doing that.
“We need to have access to cheap funding because real estate is a capital intensive project,” she said.
Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association, lauded the company for improved performance in spite of the challenging operating environment.
Nwosu urged the company to embrace strategies that would help in meeting the housing gap, especially for the middle-class.
Mrs Bisi Bakare, National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association, commended the company for its strong performance in revenue despite the inclement business environment.
Bakare enjoined the company to employ modalities that would ensure enhanced returns in the years ahead.
National Salt Company of Nigeria (NASCON) Allied Industry Plc, a subsidiary of Dangote Industries (DIL) Ltd., said it recorded a net profit of N2.97 billion, while profit before tax rose from N3.9 billion to N4.3 billion for the year 2021.
This translates to a 10.25 per cent profit before tax increase.
The company said this in a statement signed by Mr Francis Awowole- Browne, Media and Communication Personnel, DIL, on Sunday in Lagos.
According to the statement, shareholders of the company commended its impressive performance, in spite of the harsh economic operating environment, just as the company emerged the best haulage company of the year.
NASCON Chairman, Mrs Yemisi Ayeni, said the company was able to surmount the crisis posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant unfavourable economic climate.
This, she noted the company was able to achieve due to certain business strategies put in place, which insulated the company from the negative effects of the pandemic.
Also, Acting Managing Director, NASCON, Mr Thabo Mabe, stated that the company would not rest on its achievements but move from street to street, market to market, introducing its array of products to consumers.
“As a company in the fast-moving consumer goods sector, the management team has developed plans and strategies to capture more share in chosen markets and will gradually deploy them in the coming months,” he said.
Group Executive Director, Commercial, NASCON, Hajiya Fatima Aliko Dangote, said the company used the period of the downturn occasioned by the pandemic to lay a solid groud with the construction of the state of the art salt processing factory in Apapa.
“Going forward, the company would begin to reap the reward which ultimately would translate to higher dividends for the shareholders,” she said.
Representative of the shareholders, Mrs Bisi Bakare, said the performance reflected its management’s ability to steer through difficult times in the face of inadequate power supply, fluctuating exchange regime and dwindling consumers’ purchasing power.
She stated that the overall performance of the company was also reflective of its seven sustainability pillars geared towards ensuring that the company connects with all stakeholders.
Another shareholder, Mrs Adetutu Siyanbola, said the company’s transport team section should be commended for winning the best haulage company of the year.
The development, she said, was worthy of note; out of the 684 companies that enrolled for the Road-Transport-Safety-Standardisation-Scheme of the Federal Road Safety Corps(FRSC).
A shareholders’ rights’ activist, Mr Sunny Nwosu, lauded the board and management of NASCON for their ability to pay dividends in spite of the harsh operating environment such as the Apapa Wharf gridlock and the downturn in national economy.
He noted that while other companies were lamenting and cutting down on production, the company was paying dividend; a commendable development.(NAN)
Shareholders under the aegis of the Independence Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) have voiced their displeasure at the increase in banks' mandatory cash reserve ratio (CRR).
ISAN founder Mr. Sunny Nwosu said this in a statement made available to the Nigerian News Agency on Sunday in Lagos.
Shareholders urged the main bank to reduce the CRR to 15 percent from 27.5 percent or pay interest on restricted deposits to banks, noting that banks had more than 12 trillion restricted deposits with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Nwosu said the bank's decision to lower most bank charges and fees, along with the increase in the CRR, amid expectations of mounting regulatory headwinds, was causing a setback in the sector.
CRR is a monetary policy tool used by the Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to control the money supply in the economy.
The CRR authorizes the central bank to seize up to 27.5 percent of customer deposits, effectively restricting banks' access to money.
The lead bank debited a portion of banks' deposits since 2019 as part of a CRR policy and mutually inclusive loan-to-deposit relationship that aimed to further boost lending to the private sector.
“It is noteworthy that Nigeria has the highest reserve requirement in sub-Saharan Africa. South Africa, Kenya and Ghana have CRRs below 10 percent.
"We believe that the high level of CRR moderated the performance of the industry and the liquidity position during the year under review," the statement said.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele admitted that the move was part of efforts to curb excess liquidity in the banking system, which is already seen as a contributor to the resurgence of the inflationary trend.
According to Nwosu, the strict monetary policy of the CBN has continued to hit the banking sector with a multiplier effect on the equity market and loss of added value for shareholders.
He said: “After a serious assessment of the CRR and the current AMCON scam, ISAN insists that CBN should pay interest to banks on restricted deposits to improve banks' obligation to the real sector.
“As an alternative, the main bank should reduce the CRR to 15 percent to allow banks to declare significant dividends that encourage domestic investment.
"We urge CBN to reconsider the CRR and, among other things, to improve the performance of the fictitious sector of the economy."
He said the challenge of the Nigerian economy made it imperative for CBN to pay interest on restricted deposits.
“Banks restricted deposits with CBN are dormant funds. We argue that if these funds are with the banks, they will certainly improve their earnings, loans to the real sector and returns to shareholders, ”Nwosu said in the statement.
He noted that CRR's ongoing debits had put the banking sector under serious threat, noting that the main bank was denying banks the ability to earn income from customer deposits.
A breakdown of some banks debited via mandatory CRR showed that Zenith Bank Plc's restricted deposit with CBN increased from N680.26 billion in 2019 to N1.33 trillion in 2021, while FBN's restricted deposit Holdings Plc reached N1.32 billion in 2020 from N843 .44 billion in 2019.
FBN Ltd. and FBN Quest Merchant Bank Ltd. also had restricted balances of N1.3 billion and N39.37 billion respectively with CBN as of December 31, 2020.
Access Bank Plc's CRR deposit with CBN also grew to N1.31 trillion or a 54 percent increase from N848.85 trillion in 2019, while Guaranty Trust Holdings Plc (GTCO) reported N1.03 trillion of mandatory reserve with CBN in 2020 from N443 65 billion reported in 2019.
United Bank for Africa's mandatory reserves with CBN also increased to N1.10 billion in 2020 compared to N832.11 billion in 2019.
The National Coordinator, ISAN, Mr. Anthony Omojola, said that interim reports from banks in 2021 showed low income following higher borrowing costs, as the increase in CRR further complicated the flow of foreign exchange from banks that already hit the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks.
Omojola said that CBN's storage of around N1.2 trillion from the banking system since it raised the CRR penny to 27.5 percent, along with AMCON's sinking funds, raised serious concerns.
“That the restricted accumulated deposits of the banks until 2020, if invested in treasury securities at five percent, would add N482 billion to the earnings of the industry before taxes.
"The industry's return on average share capital (ROE) would have increased 31.6 percent as of December 2020," he said.
Industrial and Medical Gases Nigeria (IMG) Plc has changed its name to expand operations, increase revenue and ensure greater shareholder value.
The company's managing director / chief executive officer, Mr. Ayodeji Oseni, at the presentation of the new brand name and logo on Friday in Lagos said that the rebrand was the beginning of a new era.
Oseni added that the company had developed a plan to strengthen its global competitiveness on a sustainable basis, regardless of the nature of the operating environment.
He assured shareholders that the rebrand was the beginning of a new era.
Oseni said the company was more positioned to expand its operations, introduce more innovative products and improve shareholder value.
“We are all very excited about the bold and ambitious commitments made by investor TY Holdings.
“These commitments will lead to the acquisition of additional plants with complementary facilities, strategic workforce development, growth and development and business expansion within Nigeria and West Africa, to name just a few.
"We will leverage our team of experienced staff with rich industry experience, modern equipment and quality products and services for optimal performance and sustainably generating shareholder value," said Oseni.
He said the company would deepen its online presence, drive conversions to drive sponsorship of its products and services, and generate shareholder value in a sustainable way.
"As a publicly traded company, we will continue to meet our listing requirements on the NGX in our operations on a regular basis," he added.
However, Oseni called on the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for operations in the real sector in order to boost the utilization of capacity to create employment opportunities.
In his welcoming address, the president, Mr. Abiodun Alabi, said that the rebrand was necessary for the determination to strengthen the operations of the company, after the acquisition of 60 percent of the stake.
“In August this year, The Linde Group sold its 60 percent majority ownership to TY Holdings, a group of companies that has various business interests in various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
"TY Holding Group is known for its cunning, great vision and passion to excel in whatever field it operates in," said Alabi.
He explained that the shared vision was to significantly strengthen our company's number one position in Nigeria and deepen our activities in West Africa.
“Today when we unveil the new name and logo for our beloved company, the collective challenge for all stakeholders is to come together to support the success of our new journey.
“The nightmare of our industry today is the lack of government regulations and standards to ensure that players provide safe and quality products.
"I call on the federal government to address these challenges without further delay," Alabi said.
A prominent shareholder of the company, Mr. Sunny Nwosu, in a message of goodwill, commended the board and management for the historic event.
Nwosu described the rebrand as a great dividend-boosting expectation for shareholders.
The company was founded in Nigeria in 1959 as Industrial Gases Ltd (IGL).
By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Shareholders of NASCON Allied Industries Plc have approved a total dividend of N1.06 billion declared by the company for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020.
Shareholders approved unanimously at the company's annual general meeting on Friday in Lagos.
The Nigeria News Agency (NAN) reports that the dividend translated to 40k per share payable to qualified shareholders on May 31.
Speaking at the meeting, the National Coordinator of the Association of Pragmatic Shareholders of Nigeria, Ms. Bisi Bakare, praised the company for supporting the payment of dividends despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bakare said the company's performance during the year under review was better than 2019, despite the difficult environment caused by the pandemic.
She urged the board of directors and management to maintain the growth path for better performance for all stakeholders.
Also speaking, the founder of the Association of Independent Shareholders of Nigeria, Mr. Sunny Nwosu, commended the Board of Directors for the consistency of dividend payment.
Nwosu, however, urged the company to improve the dividend in the years to come.
He also called on the company to expand its footprint in the South East and West to increase revenue and profitability.
Responding to the shareholders, the President, Mrs. Yemisi Ayeni, assured them of the improvement of the payment of dividends in the years to come.
Ayeni said, “2020 has been a difficult year for our business and the world in general.
“Yet this year has also allowed our business to relaunch service delivery processes, reposition the salt business based on our additional capacity and focus on our distribution models.”
Ayeni said the company has invested heavily in a new salt refinery in order to produce high quality products for its demanding products.
“This is a state-of-the-art salt refining plant, using best practices to produce high quality products for our demanding customers,” she said.
Ayeni noted that the company has revised its strategy according to the realities of the market and the economy to maintain its position in the industry.
Mr. Paul Farrer, chief executive of the company, said the major challenge for the Nigerian business environment in 2020 is the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Farrer noted that the pandemic has impacted various aspects such as the supply chain, human health and the purchasing power of consumers.
“Despite the challenges faced in the business environment, we achieved a turnover of 28.01 billion naira and an EBITDA of 6.36 billion naira.
“The after-tax profit for the year was 2.69 billion naira compared to 1.85 billion naira in 2019 with earnings per share of 1.02 naira (70k in 2019),” said Farrer.
Regarding NASCON's outlook in 2021, he expressed optimism about improving growth and performance despite the various challenges.
“Despite the various challenges we face in these difficult times, we continue to demonstrate our resilience and optimism until 2021.
“We are focused on maximizing the gains from expanding our capabilities, developing human capital, operational efficiency and aggressive commerce in all segments of the market,” he said. (NOPE)(NAN)
By Itohan Abara-Laserian
Cement maker Lafarge Africa Plc posted 30.8% growth in recurring profit before interest and taxes (EBIT).
Prince Adebode Adefioye, chairman of the company's board of directors, said in Lagos on Friday that the growth was presented and approved at its 62nd annual general meeting (AGM) held on May 25.
Adefioye said that despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company recorded an 8.3% increase in net sales, mainly thanks to strong volume growth.
Adefioye has articulated successes on brand resilience and the ability to deploy strategic engagements with stakeholders as well as a balanced shared value approach to achieve business performance.
He said in a statement that the audited financial result for 2020 was an indication of the validity of the company's execution of the “health, costs and cash” action plan; which led to impressive results.
“Lafarge Africa is committed to building a more sustainable and inclusive economy that works for all.
“To strengthen our sustainability leadership, we continued to integrate initiatives and policies aimed at delivering superior value to stakeholders through innovation, creativity and continuous improvement in line with global best practices. .
“Despite the pandemic, Lafarge Africa is showing resilience and is very proud of how management and employees have truly brought Lafarge values to life, ensuring the safety of people and businesses while remaining resilient by communities of 'welcome,' he said.
Adefioye added that at the AGM, shareholders unanimously agreed on the proposed final dividend of 100k per share.
Lafarge Chief Executive Officer Khaled El-Dokani said the audited financial statements gave a true and fair view of the financial performance of the company during the period under review.
El-Dokani said that despite the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has been able to outperform its previous performance thanks to deliberate attention from company management and employees.
“The company is focused on a 'out of stock' situation where we can sell whatever we produce,” he said.
A shareholder representative, Mr. Sunny Nwosu, praised Lafarge Africa for supporting the payment of profits and dividends despite the tough and difficult economy of 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Lafarge Africa is a member of LafargeHolcim, headquartered in Switzerland. (NOPE)(NAN)
By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
FBN Holdings Plc shareholders on Tuesday endorsed a total dividend of N16.15 billion declared for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020′
The shareholders approved the dividend at the company’s ninth Annual General Meeting held by proxy and monitored live on YouTube by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos.
NAN reports that the dividend translated to 45k per share, compared to 38k per share paid in the corresponding period of 2019.
The dividend declared would be payable on April 28 to eligible shareholders.
Speaking at the meeting, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr Sunny Nwosu, commended the company for the enhanced dividend declared for the 2020 financial year.
Nwosu applauded the director’s, management and staff of the company for serving the shareholders diligently, in spite of the challenging operating environment and COVID-19 pandemic.
On unclaimed dividends and dormant accounts, he urged the Federal Government not to pursue policies that would discourage investors from investing in Nigeria.
Nwosu also enjoined registrars and company secretaries to map out strategies that would reduce the level of unclaimed dividends.
Also speaking, Mrs Bisi Bakare, National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, lauded the company for reducing Non Performing Loans (NPL) to 7.7 per cent from the 9.9 per cent posted in 2019.
Bakare said that the company had showed resilience in dividend payment and operational performance in spite of challenging times.
Mr Adebayo Adeleke, another shareholder, commended the board of directors and the management for the transformation recorded by the company.
Adeleke noted that the company had shown ability to contain cost and had been consistent in reducing the NPL.
Responding, Mr Urum Kalu Eke, the company’s Group Managing Director, told shareholders that the company was well positioned to pay higher dividends in the years ahead.
“We are well positioned to begin to pay higher dividends in the coming years.
“We will not relent in our leadership position; it goes beyond creating structure, what we are doing now is to build synergy, platforms and collaborations.
“We will continue to thrive to generate earnings and be in a position to pay dividend at a higher level.
“We are committed to restore this group as the foremost, the biggest institution in Nigeria and Africa and it will happen,’’ Eke said.
He said that the company was committed to progressive dividend every year, noting that it plugged back about N25 billion into the commercial bank subsidiary to boost its capacity.
He noted that the company’s profit after tax of about N90 billion during the year under review was an indication that the turnaround embarked upon over three years ago had continued to transform the group.
“For you to grow a loan book by 19.2 per cent in a challenged economy as we saw in 2020 is something that speaks to our faith and commitment to this economy.
“For us to increase deposit by 22 per cent to N5 trillion says a lot about the trust and safety that we offer to the public,’’ he stressed.
On NPL, Eke said that it would be reduced to a single digit within two to three years.
On unclaimed dividends and dormant accounts, he agreed that government must be careful in order not to discourage investments.
“We need to build confidence into the system so that people that are bringing money will see confidence that their capital and funds are protected,’’ Eke said.
He also assured the shareholders that the Finance Act stance on unclaimed dividends and dormant accounts had not commenced.
Also speaking, the Chief Executive Officer, FirstBank Group, Dr Adesola Adeduntan said that the bank had built the largest agency banking in Nigeria with more than 100,000 agents.
Adeduntan said that the bank went into agency banking to assist government in financial inclusion.
“We have created employment for at least 300,000 people thereby assisting government to address unemployment,’’ he said. (NAN)(NAN)
C&I Leasing shareholders endorse Neoma Africa $10m loan to equity conversion
Lagos, Nov. 3, 2020 C&I Leasing Plc shareholders have unanimously approved the conversion of $10 million loan to equity for Neoma Africa Fund (formerly Aureos African Fund).
The shareholders gave the approval
at the company’s Extra-Ordinary General Meeting (EGM) on Tuesday in Lagos.
The shareholders also approved the conversion of the $10 million unsecured variable coupon redeemable convertible loan stock in registered units of N4.75 or the dollar equivalent units into 987,500,000 ordinary shares of the company.
Recall that in January 2019, C&I Leasing announced that Abraaj, the managers of the Aureos Africa Fund, agreed to convert the $10 million loan stock in the quoted company to equity.
The loan was obtained by the Nigerian firm and it matured in 2018.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association, urged the management to protect the interest of minority shareholders in the arrangement.
Nwosu advocated that the price should be adjusted upward from N4.75, adding that most of the shareholders purchased the shares at N6.
He said that the board of the company should work in ensuring that arrangements made would benefit all parties involved.
Also, Mr Robert Egbe, Coordinator, Noble Shareholders, called on the board and management of the company to ensure quick implementation of the conversion arrangement.
Mr Adeleke Oladimeji, representative of Dedicated Shareholders, urged other shareholders to collaborate toward moving the company ahead.
Oladimeji noted that the company could not bear the burden of the debt again, thus called for a support to the proposals.
Responding to the shareholders’ concerns, Mr Henry Okolo, the company’s Chairman, explained that the exchange rate for the conversion was pegged at N197 three years ago.
Okolo said that the present exchange rate and unit cost of the share at N3.20 was an advantage to the company.
He assured the shareholders of higher returns in the years ahead.
He said that the conversion was expected to happen before the end of the year.
“We expect that this would significantly strengthen the balance sheet of our company,” Okolo said.
C&I Leasing has been in operation for over two decades.
It has since evolved from being a simple finance leasing company licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1991 to becoming a diversified leasing and business service conglomerate providing support services to various indigenous and multinational organisations in West Africa.
Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle
Sterling Bank Plc shareholders on Thursday commended the bank’s financial performance and dividend payout for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2019.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association, lauded the bank’s board, management and entire workforce for their hard work.
“We are constrained by COVID-19 and cannot roll out the drums to celebrate the achievement of our bank today.
“All the same, we thank the board and management for the impressive outing in 2019 and the dividend recommendation.
“Looking at performance highlights, the bank has done a lot to grow our assets to N1.182 trillion.
“Loans and advances have also grown, operating income has grown, and our deposit base should hit N1 trillion by next year.
“We commend the board for retaining earnings, protecting shareholders’ funds, and ensuring there is no insider abuse as it relates to loans.
Mr Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), appreciated the increase in the bank’s demand deposit which went up by 47 per cent and described it as “quite good.”
Nwosu appreciated the way employees of the bank attend to customers and expressed the hope that such excellent service delivery would continue to differentiate it post-COVID-19.
Mr Mathew Akinlade, President, Noble Solidarity Shareholders Association (NSSA), also commended the bank for bringing down its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio from 8.7 per cent in 2018 to 2.2 per cent in 2019.
Akinlade noted that the NPL was below the benchmark of five per cent prescribed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He lauded the bank for compliance which reduced penalties for contraventions in 2019 by 73.3 per cent when compared with 2018.
Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, Mr Asue Ighodalo, the bank’s Chairman, said its shareholders’ fund grew by 22.2 per cent to N119.6 billion.
He said this was because of increase in retained earnings, despite the challenging operating environment under which it operated during the review period.
Ighodalo said the rise in total equity was attributable to growth in comprehensive income arising from gains recorded from investments in debt securities.
He said that the Board of Directors recognised the importance of dividends to its shareholders and constantly sought to balance this with capital requirements to support the bank’s next wave of growth.
“Accordingly, the Board recommends the payment of 3k per share as dividend for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019 to reward our loyal and committed shareholders.
“This affords the bank the required buffer to finance its growth ambitions, and effectively become a first-class, stronger, creative and extremely dependable financial institution,” Ighodalo said.
The chairman said the bank consolidated its efforts in the mobilisation of deposits during the review period, thereby recording a 17.4 per cent growth in deposit base to N893 billion from N761 billion in 2018.
In his comments, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Suleiman Abubakar, noted that, “For a bank to succeed in these uncertain times, it must be agile, cautious, innovative, knowledgeable and prepared.”
He said that the bank’s unwavering commitment to a more disciplined deployment of scarce capital and the strength of its retail business contributed to a 15 per cent growth in profit after tax to N10.6 billion.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
Access Bank Plc shareholders on Thursday commended the board, management and staff for the impressive performance recorded in 2019 financial year in spite of challenging operating environment.
The shareholders gave the commendation at the bank’s 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) held by proxy in Lagos due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), lauded the bank for improved results and dividend payment.
Nwosu said the dividend was very timely given the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said Access Bank had a good foresight by merging with defunct Diamond Bank Plc.
“The professional and seamless manner with which the integration was done should be commended and shareholders appreciate the board and management,”Nwosu ssid.
According to him, the future remains very bright for the all shareholders, considering the synergy the merger has brought to the bank.
He said that they would also benefit from the expertise the management and staff continued to deploy to maintain a leading role in the retail banking space.
Nwosu also lauded leading efforts of Access Bank in the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), to support the Federal Government to fight the pandemic.
Also speaking, Mrs Bisi Bakare of Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, noted that unlike some of its competitors, the bank had recorded increased profit in the past three years.
“Shareholders have confidence in the board and management to continue to deliver improved performance, going forward,” she said.
In his address, Dr Herbert Wigwe, the bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, said the group delivered a 26 per cent increase in gross earnings of N666.8 billion, from N528.7 billion in 2018.
According to him, the company recorded interest income growth of 41 per cent from previous levels to N155.9billion, despite declining interest rate environment.
“The effects of an enlarged loan book contributed significantly to the interest income growth of N155.9 billion (+41 per cent y/y), leading to strong bottom-line figures.
“The net effect on operating income resulted in strong profit before tax (PBT) of N115.4billion, as against N103.2 billion achieved in 2018.
“The strength of the performance reflects a growing franchise supported by digital capabilities and improving customer service touchpoints.
“The retail business gained momentum, leveraging opportunities in key sectors to consolidate market share dominance through our digital loans.
“The wholesale business also continued to soar in the year, following intense marketing drive and continued investment in the sector to deliver stronger synergies,” he said.
Wigwe said the bank ended the year with profit after tax of N97.51 billion, up from N94.98 billion in 2018, and paid a final dividend of 40k to bring the total dividend to 65k per share.
Wigwe explained that the merger with Diamond Bank produced a truly diversified institution with remarkable retail presence and solid wholesale market share.
“This has propelled us towards achieving our five- year strategic objectives to create the largest bank in Nigeria by total assets as well as largest in Africa by customer base with over 36 million unique customers across the network.
“Using an agile approach and with strong dedication, we have achieved a significant milestone in financial services on the continent whilst delivering the fastest and most seamless customer integration globally.
“With the emergence of the new entity, the bank is well-positioned to cater to the retail business through a broader reach and product offerings tailored to individual customer needs and delivered efficiently.
“Access Bank is now a tier one retail banking franchise with strong digital payments capabilities and benefiting from a diversified business mix,” he said.
Wigwe said the bank was already addressing the issue of high operating expenses and taking drastic measures to ensure that expenses were reduced significantly.
He said that the effect would be felt mostly in the second, third and final quarter of 2020.
Speaking on how Access Bank was running its business in the COVID-19 period, the GMD assured that it had put in place a robust business continuity process, enough to sustain its performance going forward.
“Access Bank was well prepared for the COVID-19 early enough and created ways of working from home and working with our customers.
“We set up links with our customers and many ways of reaching out to our customers three or four times in a day.
“This happened even before we started working with the larger society and enabled us to start fighting this pandemic.
“So, Access Bank has put a system in place and is now working with CACOVID to make sure that everyone knows what he is doing,” he said.
Edited By: Angela Okisor/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)