THE Zenith Bank Plc has put a smile on the face of shareholders. On Monday, March 16, at its 29th Annual General Meeting, AGM, in Abuja, Nigeria, the Bank’s shareholders unanimously approved the proposed final dividend of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend payment for the 2019 financial year to N2.80 per share with a total value of N87.9 billion. This followed the recent release of the Bank’s audited financial results for the 2019 financial year.
According to Jim Ovia, chairman of the board, the AGM was an opportunity for the bank to engage shareholders on its 2019 financial year performance.
In his statement, Ovia said “Zenith Bank is committed to consistently deliver superior returns to our highly esteemed shareholders by ensuring that a good chunk of our profit is set aside for you. In a clear demonstration of this, we had declared and paid you an interim dividend of 30kobo per share in the course of the 2019 financial year. We hereby propose a final dividend of N2.50kobo per share. If approved, this will bring the total dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019, to N2.80kobo per share”.
Zenith Bank reaffirmed its leading position in the Nigerian banking industry posting an impressive Profit Before Tax, PBT, of N243bn, representing a 5 percent increase over the N231.6bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2018. Profit after Tax (PAT) stood at N208.8bn over N193bn, an increase of 8 percent, thus making Zenith Bank the first Nigerian bank to cross the 200billion Naira mark.
The bank’s result showed an increase in gross earnings from N662bn to N630bn, indicating dominance in market share, while its assets grew by 5 percent from the N5.9 trillion to N6.3 trillion, growth is driven by the 29 percent increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019. The Bank’s fees on electronic products continue to grow significantly with a 108% Year-on-Year (YoY) from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in 2019.
The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low-interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1 percent to 3.0 percent. However, this also affected net interest margin, which reduced from 8.9 percent to 8.2 percent in the current year due to the re-pricing of interest-bearing assets. Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23 percent and 3.4 percent, respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share, EPS, which grew 8% from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.
The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22 percent from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1 percent and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98 percent to 4.30 percent. Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3 percent and 22.0 percent, respectively.
Financial analysts noted this unprecedented feat by a Nigerian Bank as remarkable and an indication of strong financial leadership and resilience.
As a testament to this superlative performance, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the recently released Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020”, the Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the Thisday Awards 2020. In addition, the Bank was also voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co.
– Mar. 17, 2020 @ 11:05 GMT |