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GTBank Releases 2020 Half Year Audited Results, Reports Profit before Tax of ₦109.7Billion

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has released its audited financial results for the half-year ended June 30, 2020, to the Nigerian and London Stock Exchanges.

The half-year result reflects GTBank’s leading position as one of the best managed financial institutions in Africa. The Bank’s loan book grew by 8.1% from ₦1.502trillion recorded as at December 2019 to ₦1.624trillion in June 2020 and customer deposits increased by 18.5% to ₦3.001trillion from ₦2.533trillion in December 2019. Profit before Tax closed at ₦109.7billion, representing a decrease of 5.2% over ₦115.8billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.

The Bank closed the half-year ended June 2020 with Total Assets of ₦4.511trillion and Shareholders’ Funds of ₦720.9Billion. In terms of Asset quality, NPL ratio and Cost of Risk closed at 6.8% and 0.4% in June 2020 from 6.5% and 0.3% in December 2019 respectively. Overall, asset quality remains stable with adequate coverage of 118.1%, while Capital remains strong with a CAR of 22.9%. On the backdrop of this result, Return on Equity (ROAE) and Return on Assets (ROAA) stood at 26.8% and 4.6% respectively. The Bank is proposing an interim dividend of 30kobo per ordinary share of 50 kobo each for the period ended June 30, 2020.

Commenting on the financial results, the Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank plc, Segun Agbaje, said; “These are undoubtedly tough and trying times for people, businesses and economies the world over. Our financial performance in the first half of the year reflects the quality of our past decisions which have broadened our earnings and strategically positioned us to thrive, thus far, through the current global health and economic crises. Underpinning this financial performance is our commitment to being there for our customers and the communities we serve, and over the past six months we have lent the full weight of our franchise to safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of our staff and customers by leading from the front in the fight to curtail the Covid-19 outbreak and offering grace periods on loans to our small business customers.”

He further stated that “Going forward, our focus is not just to survive this pandemic, but to thrive beyond it. That is why we are going ahead with our plans to reimagine how we create value for all our stakeholders. We know that making financial services work for customers goes beyond banking, and in line with our long-term strategy, we will seek to create and drive innovative financial solutions that go beyond banking.”

GTBank has continued to report the best financial ratios for a Financial Institution in the industry with a Return on Equity (ROE) of 26.8% and cost to income ratio of 43.2%.

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.

BUSINESS

Lasaco Shares Not Suspended

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Our attention has been drawn to an online publication on the 22nd of February 2021 that Lasaco Assurance Plc. (“LASACO”/”the Company”) shares had been placed on indefinite suspension. This is not correct as the shares of the Company were never placed on indefinite suspension by The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”/”the Exchange”).

The shareholders of Lasaco Assurance had at the Annual General Meeting of 8th October 2019, approved the reconstruction of 7,334,343,421 Ordinary shares of 50k each in the share capital of the Company in the ratio of ONE (1) new ordinary share for every FOUR (4) Ordinary shares previously held by the shareholders into 1,833,585,855 Ordinary shares of 50k each.

Lasaco Assurance, through its Financial Advisers and Stockbrokers, filed necessary Applications with the Securities & Exchange Commission (“SEC”/”the Commission”) and The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”/”the Exchange”) for the reconstruction of the said Issued shares as directed by the shareholders.

Following the approval of SEC with the Issuance of Letter of no Objection to the reconstruction by the Commission and submission of the said letter to the Exchange, suspension from trading in the shares of the Company was placed by the Exchange from Monday 1st February 2021 to Friday, 19th February 2021 to allow the Share Reconstruction exercises to be concluded.

The shares of the Company resumed trading on Monday, 22nd February 2021 following the conclusion of the Share Reconstruction.

It should be noted that Lasaco Assurance is a regulatory compliant institution and had not done anything to warrant an indefinite suspension of its shares at the Exchange as published by your paper.

Management.

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BUSINESS

Access Bank Commences Accelerator Program, To Empower Startups Through Africa Fintech Foundry

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Africa Fintech Foundry (AFF), an initiative of Access Bank Plc has commenced its accelerator programs.

The initiative is set to empower emerging startups, with mentorship programs, advisory and has committed N10 million in cash to the top three finalists.

The accelerator program which opened its entries last month received 306 registrations and after rigorous assessments were later shortlisted to 30 participants.

These finalists were further screened by the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Mr. Daniel Awe; Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank, Mrs. Ayodele Olojede; and Vice President, Investments MBO Capital, and Fintech Consultant, Mr. Oshone Ikazobor, in a bid to narrow it down to 10 -15 finalist.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Awe said the AFF was committed to empowering startups with resources and ensuring start-ups are equipped to scale their businesses.

He said: “If a start-up has an idea and you throw it into a market of 42 million customers, the acceleration is going to be faster. So, it is using the entire ecosystem of our group to build the future of the country.”

“In the next 10 years, these guys coming here we see them becoming a unicorn worth over $100 million and a season is coming where would see these startups becoming the next drivers of our economy.”

On funding available for the start-ups, he added: “Funding is based on ideas and what would be required to move the idea forward. We have a commitment of about N10 million. After they come into the accelerator program, there are a top-three but the other ones are going to be exposed to investors.

“This initiative would have a direct impact on the economy because it is targeted at the medium scale businesses and these are the businesses that can change economies in terms of reducing employment rate and socioeconomic levels.”

Also speaking at the event, the Head, Retail Product Insight and Capabilities, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Rob Giles said: “We are looking for companies with ideas that can solve real-world problems and were we are different from venture capital firms is we offer an environment where startups can be supported, nurtured, advised and get access to people who are further ahead on their journey like mentors.

“We have seen three companies that can go all the way and our job is to make sure they stay the course and structure their foundations from the very beginning that would allow them to scale.”

Furthermore, speaking to one of the participating startups, the Founder, Farm Delight Ms. Love Uduma, a start-up focused on the agriculture value chain from production to distribution and consumption said this platform is an impactful stream for startups to get support from.

On her expectation, she said: “I am expecting tech support and a good relationship with the tech community. We have the agricultural aspect covered but we need the technical assistance and also funding.”

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BUSINESS

Fidelity Bank Plc Successfully Issued The Largest Ticket Tier II Local Bonds In Nigeria

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Fidelity Bank Plc has successfully issued 10 years N41.21 billion in fixed-rate unsecured subordinated bond at a 8.5 percent coupon rate due in 2031. The bond issuance which was fully subscribed given that total investor interest and commitments in the bonds were N56.6 billion, adds to the impressive portfolio of landmark transactions structured by the bank and underscores its capacity to successfully execute debt capital market transactions.

The transaction is a landmark achievement in the Nigerian domestic debt market for being the largest corporate bonds ever issued by a Nigerian Bank including the deposit money banks and merchant banks etc.

In December, the bank had announced plans to issue fixed income securities with a 10-year tenor to support the growth and development of Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Retail Business as well as its technology infrastructure. The bank conducted the debt issuance under its registered N100 billion bond issuance programme.

The bonds are unsecured and subordinated, which will qualify as Tier II Capital in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Guidance Notes on Regulatory Capital for commercial banks in Nigeria.

Speaking on the significance and success of the bond issuance, Fidelity Bank Chairman, Mustapha Chike-Obi said that the bond issuance further demonstrates our confidence in Nigeria’s debt market. “It also validates the continued investor confidence in our corporate strategy and aspirations, strong corporate governance structure and solid and stable executive management team with a robust history of superior financial performance and returns”, Obi explained.

In her comments, Fidelity Bank CEO, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe noted that proceeds from the transaction would be utilized to support growth in the issuer’s risk assets in SME and retail business as well as investments in technology & retail infrastructure. This, Onyeali-Ikpe added is in line with the bank’s Tier I aspirations. According to her, our business fundamentals have remained strong despite the challenging economic environment occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic and the attendant recession.

“The successful bond issuance highlights the confidence in the Fidelity brand, as well as our capability to expand our funding sources, and deliver innovative financial services to our esteemed customers”, she added. The issue was assigned a rating of A- by Agusto, and A by Datapro and will be listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited.

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria, with over 5.7 million customers who are serviced across its 250 business offices and various other digital banking channels. The Bank is focused on select niche corporate banking sectors, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and is rapidly implementing a digital-based retail banking strategy which has resulted in annual double-digit growth in savings deposits in at least 7 consecutive years while over 50 percent of its customers are now enrolled on its digital platforms.

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