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UBA Delivers N300.6 Billion Gross Earnings, Declares N0.17k Interim Dividend

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Africa’s leading financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has announced its audited financial results for the half-year ended June 30, 2020, showing commendable growth across key performance indices as well as an increased contribution from its African subsidiaries.

Notwithstanding the challenging business and economic environment occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, the pan African financial institution was able to deliver growth in its gross earnings which rose to N300.6bn up from N294bn recorded in the same period of 2019.

According to its results filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the Group recorded N2.2 trillion in net loans to customers, representing a 6.1% growth even as deposits from customers increased impressively by 25.2% to N4.8tn. Net interest income grew by 8.4% to N119.3billion, whilst net fee and commission income stood at N38.6billion representing a 7.0% increase compared to a similar period in 2019.

As of June 30, 2020, the Bank’s Total Assets surpassed the N6tn mark as it leaped to N6.8 trillion. Operating income also grew by 7.7% to N197.1bn compared to N182.9bn while profit before tax stood at N57.1bn from N70.3bn in 2019, yielding a 14.4 percent annualized return on average equity.

The bank’s Shareholders’ Funds remained strong at N634.7bn up from N597.9bn in December 2019, driven by growth in retained earnings, a reflection of UBA’s capacity for business growth. In line with its culture of paying both interim and final cash dividend, the Board of Directors of UBA Plc declared an interim dividend of N0.17 per share for every ordinary share of N0.50 each held by its shareholders.

Commenting on the results, UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said “Our 2020H1 results is yet another demonstration of the resilience of our business model in an extremely uncertain and tough operating environment. We recorded commendable growth in our underlying business in terms of customer acquisition, transaction volumes, and balance sheet whilst inflation, depressed yield environment and exchange rate volatilities impacted our net earnings as anticipated.

He further stated, “Despite the short-term challenges to various economic sectors occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, we focused on the fundamentals of businesses in growth-driving sectors of various economies in which we operate and achieved 6.4% growth in gross loan to customers, reaching the N2.3trillion mark. The Group achieved N114.3 billion (a 10% YoY growth) in interest income from loans and advances to customers, as well as credit-related fees and commissions.

Uzoka explained that notwithstanding the lock-down in a number of countries and the general lull in several economic sectors, UBA’s banking channels remained open to customers ‘24/7’, adding that “Fortunately, we had proactively built robust electronic channel platforms to enable us to serve customers efficiently and deliver services to them in the comfort of their homes. Notably, we are adjusting our operating model in response to the ‘new normal’ and will continue to optimize the way we work and serve customers in the days ahead.”

He expressed confidence in the bank’s capacity to deliver good returns to shareholders: “we remain committed to our drive as ‘Africa’s Global Bank’ and confident of claiming and sustaining industry leadership on key metrics across geographies where we operate. We will strive to deliver our services in a sustainable way, ultimately leveraging our best-in-class digital capabilities to delight our 21 million (and growing) customers across 23 countries.”

Also speaking on the results, UBA’s Group CFO, Ugo Nwaghodoh said “Our H1 2020 results reflect the inherent benefits of diversification as we have seen marked growth in contribution from the subsidiaries across Africa. Our Rest-of-Africa operations have continued to break new grounds in market share gains, providing a buffer for Group earnings. As the global and local economies begin to improve, we remain optimistic of a better performance in the second half of the year, with expected improvement in the Group’s NIM and ROAE which stood at 5.4% and 14.4% respectively as at end of H12020.

“We defensively positioned our loan portfolio whilst we grew gross loans by 6.4%, maintaining our prudent risk appetite, even as NPL ratio for the Group moderated to 4.1% (from 5.3% in 2019FY). We have prudently set-up reserves for loan impairments in recognition of potential losses on the portfolio, resulting in a 150% growth in our provisioning. Albeit, the cost of risk moderated to 0.7% from 0.9% in 2019FY. The Group’s capital adequacy ratio increased to 24.9% providing a very strong buffer for asset growth. We remain committed to maintaining our robust risk management practices, as profitable growth and good asset quality remain our priority in 2020,” he noted.

United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-one million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints, in 20 African countries. With a presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance, and ancillary banking services.

BUSINESS

FBN Holdings Grows Profit By 32% To N68bn In Nine Months

Gbemileke Ajayi

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FBN Holdings Plc has reported a growth of 31.7 percent in its profit after tax (PAT) for the nine months ended September 30, 2020, raising the hope of investors for a robust dividend at the end of the financial year.

The financial group posted a PAT of N68.256 billion, up from N51.747 billion in the corresponding period of 2019.

Details of the results showed that FBN Holdings recorded gross earnings of 325.279 billion, up from N324.152 billion, while net interest income stood at N192.737 billion compared with N203.53billion in 2019. Fee and commission income rose from N62.434 billion to N72.988 billion. Impairment charges rose from N28.46 billion to N46.675 billion.

Profit before tax improved from N54.469 billion to N63.280 billion, while PAT grew faster from N51.747 billion to N68.156 billion. Loans and advances expanded by 10.3 percent from N2.607 trillion to N2.869 trillion, while customers’ deposits rose from N4.019 trillion to N4.630 trillion. FBN Holdings ended the period with total assets of N7.243 trillion, up from N6.204 trillion.

The impressive results recorded despite the COVID-19 pandemic did not come as surprise to some stakeholders as the Group Managing Director of FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. UK Eke, had said necessary steps had been put in place to ensure the bank mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

According to him, FBN Holdings continued to assess the impact not only on its income in the immediate but also medium-to-long-term impact on its customers and their ability to meet obligations.

“And in line with the commitment to supporting our customers and providing leadership in the financial services industry, we will continue to provide unfettered access to financial services to our customers and address their needs. We are working in line with the guidance of the regulators including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in providing access to funding as we seek to kick-start the economy and drive growth,” he said.

He assured stakeholders that overall, “the impact on our business has been broadly in line with our expectations, and our resilience, breadth of offerings, and investment in alternative channels have ensured that the Group is able to cushion the effect and thrive.”

Eke had also said the shares of FBN Holdings had been undervalued because the valuation does not reflect the growing fundamentals as evidenced by the return on equity which has continued to improve quarter-on-quarter.

“More fundamentally, the Group has begun to reap the dividend of its investment in technology that has enhanced the earning capacity of the business and expanded our market reach,” Eke said.

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BUSINESS

Naira Sinks To N620 Against Pound, As Euro Rises To N565

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The naira tumbled to 620 against the British pound sterling at the parallel market on Thursday, even as the euro rose to N565.

The naira fell by 2.1 percent against the pound from 607 on Wednesday, and by 1.4 percent against the euro from 560.

The local currency was, however, stable against the dollar at the parallel market as it traded at 478/$1. It dropped from 475/$1 on Tuesday to 478/$1 on Wednesday.

In the Investors’ and Exporters’ forex window, the naira firmed to 385.50 against the greenback on Thursday from 386 on Wednesday as daily turnover rose to $205.84m from $32.88m on Wednesday, according to data obtained from FMDQ Group.

The Central Bank of Nigeria has kept the official exchange rate at N379/$1 since August when the naira was devalued for the second time this year from 360 per dollar. It was first devalued to 360 in March from 306.

The nation’s forex reserves stood at $35.54bn as of November 17, down from $35.69bn on October 28, according to the CBN.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Cowry Asset Management Limited, Mr. Johnson Chukwu, had told our correspondent on Monday that forex demand pressures were coming from end-users and those whose obligations had matured and in need of forex to meet the obligations.

“There is a lot of unmet demand,” Chukwu had said, adding that pressure was mounting even as the CBN continued to intervene in the market.

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BIG STORY

GTBank Releases Q3 2020 Unaudited Results, Reports Profit Before Tax Of ₦167.4 Billion

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its unaudited financial results for the period ended September 30, 2020, to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.

The 3rd Quarter result shows improved performance across key financial metrics, reaffirming the Bank’s capability to navigate the current economic challenges occasioned by the impact of COVID 19 on World economies.

The performance reflects its position as one of the leading and best managed financial institutions in Africa.

The Group reported Profit before tax of ₦167.4billion, representing a decrease of 1.9% over ₦170.7billion recorded in the corresponding period of September 2019 and an improvement on the 5.2% dip posted in H1-2020 relative to H1-2019.

Loan and Deposit book however grew by 4.5% and 25.1% from ₦1.502trillion and ₦2.640trillion recorded as of December 2019 to ₦1.569trillion and ₦3.303trillion in September 2020 respectively.

Guaranty Trust Bank’s Balance sheet remained well structured, diversified, and resilient with Total assets and Shareholders’ Funds closing at ₦4.574trillion and ₦755.5billion respectively. Full Impact Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) remained very strong, closing at 23.9%, while Asset quality was sustained as NPL ratio and Cost of Risk (COR) closed at 6.5% and 0.6% in September 2020 from 6.5% and 0.3% in December 2019 respectively.

Commenting on the financial results, the Managing Director/CEO of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Mr. Segun Agbaje, said; “Our 3rd Quarter result is a reflection of how we have appropriately positioned our balance sheet to cope with current economic realities and the challenging business environment. It is also a testament to the enduring loyalty of our customers, the hard work and dedication of our staff, and the unwavering support we continue to enjoy from all our stakeholders in our drive to deliver best-in-class financial services and superior and sustainable returns.”

He further stated that; “As an organization, we will continue to build on our commitment to enriching lives by leveraging our digital-first customer-centric strategy to improve customer experience and maintain a high standard in service delivery, and going beyond banking to create and drive innovative financial solutions that add value to our customers in all aspects of their lives.”

Over all, Guaranty Trust Bank plc continues to be the best in the Nigerian banking industry in terms of all financial ratios i.e. Post-Tax Return on Equity (ROAE) of 26.3%, Post-Tax Return on Assets (ROAA) of 4.6%, and Cost to Income ratio of 40.2%.

Renowned for its forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement, GTBank was recently ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa.

The Bank was also awarded the Best Bank in Nigeria by Euromoney Magazine for a record-extending tenth time and the Euromoney Excellence in Leadership Africa Award for its swift reaction in responding to the Covid-19 crisis and for addressing the impact of the pandemic on its customers and communities.

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