Additional Capital for Sterling Bank


STERLING Bank shareholders have approved the bank’s proposal to raise an additional capital of N31.2 billion for its operation. The shareholders approved the plan to raise N12 billion through a rights issue and N19.2 billion through private placement during the 2013 annual general meeting of the bank held in Lagos, on May 2.

Yemi Adeola, group managing director of the bank, said that the fund was necessary to implement the medium and long term strategic objectives of the bank. Adeola also explained that the bank would continue to drive growth strategies domestically, focusing on building long-term relationships and creating sustainable value for customers.

According to him, the 2012 financial performance emphasised the bank’s undoubted ability to execute key strategies, adding that “this was done as we deepened our reach in the industry, strengthened our technology infrastructure and continued to build a sustainable and viable bank.”

The bank’s report showed a 96 per cent increase in profit after tax to N2.72 billion as at December 31, 2012, compared to N1.39bn recorded in the same period of 2011. The bank earned N19.8bn in the period under review, from N16.2bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2011, while net interest income rose by 3.5 percent, from N6.27billion in 2011 to N6.49 billion in 2012.

Accordingly, its earnings per share increased to 17 kobo in 2012, from nine kobo in 2011. The report also showed that deposits increased by 13.1 percent within the three months from N466.8 billion recorded in December 2012 to N528.1billion in March 2013, while total assets grew by 11 percent to N645.1billion, from N580.2 billion recorded in December 2012. Loans and advances also improved from N229.4 billion in December 2012 to N247.6 billion in March 2013, while shareholders’ funds stood at N49.3 billion.

Meanwhile, Adeola said the result reflected the enhanced capacity of the bank following its business combination with Equatorial Trust Bank. He emphasised that the growth was driven by a marked improvement in core banking operations while the bank maintained a tight grip on asset quality, with non-performing loans dropping to its lowest rate of 3.8 percent despite a 42 percent growth in loans to N229.4 billion.

“Going into 2013, our goal is to reduce our cost of funds, enhance our brand presence in our target markets and improve operating efficiency. We have also revamped our retail strategy through a number of initiatives. Our physical infrastructure is being upgraded to capture a high-street retail look and feel; and restructured along the lines of hub and spoke delivery platforms,” he said.


Sustainability in Business

DUBAI is building its Expo 2020 bid on three sub-themes representing the forces that inspire global development. They are sustainability (lasting sources of energy and water), mobility (smart systems of logistics and transportation); and opportunity (new paths to economic development). Dubai Expo 2020 under the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ reports on two social initiatives in Africa that are helping to foster sustainability on a local level.

Governments and large businesses are all looking at sustainability as a key issue in their bid to tackle climate change and water scarcity while global leaders and chief executives work on incorporating sustainability into policy-making and business models, smaller enterprises are delivering at grassroots level.

In Ghana, Toyola Energy, founded by Suraj Wahab Ologburo, is one such enterprise. Toyola makes energy-efficient cooking stoves for ordinary Ghanaian consumers, who spend a large chunk of their incomes on fuel.

Ologburo’s “coal pot” stove uses one-third less charcoal than most existing stoves and sells for as little as $8. Ologburo also offers credit, so consumers can pay $2 up front and the remaining $6 over two months using money saved on charcoal. His company has produced 200,000 stoves and more than one million Ghanaians eat food cooked using Ologburo’s products every day. His business has reduced charcoal consumption in Ghana by 30,000 tonnes each year and carbon dioxide emissions by 150,000 tonnes a year.

Gina Garbon was one of Ologburo’s first customers. She liked the stove so much that she ordered five for her market stall in Accra. Five became 100 and she sold every one, using the profits to buy land and build a new house. “Stoves changed my life,” she says.

Elsewhere, across Sub-Saharan Africa, social enterprise Solar Sister is enabling rural women to start their own clean-tech cottage industries. The solar energy “business-in-a-bag” model provides funding, and inventory – including solar lamps and solar mobile phone chargers – that the women sell locally.

The scheme provides participants with an income and brings clean solar power to their communities. “My children need light to study so they can do well in school. If I have the opportunity to earn some money, I can give them a better future,” says one Solar Sister entrepreneur.

As the world ponders the climate change challenge, Solar Sister and Toyola Energy demonstrate how grassroots initiatives can effect change in ways that bring not just sustainability benefits but economic opportunities too.

— May 13, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

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