NKECHI NAECHE–—Following its successful merger with Diamond bank plc, the Shareholders of Access Bank Plc on Thursday approved the bank’s final payment of N0.25kobo to its investors for the financial year ended December 2018. This brings total dividend for the year to N0.50 Kobo per share.
Speaking on the dividend , Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said with the merger fully consummated, the bank with a total present branch of 600 branches spread-out in ten countries, three continents is poised to in the next five year be the African gateway to the world.
“The 25 kobo was paid so that going further, we would have enough capital to support the large entity which we have now become. Some of the deduction to CBN may be appropriate, as it’s used for supply to SME’s. We will ensure stakeholders’ value is optimised. If we don’t optimised and drive the SME’s, who are major driver of economic growth there is bound to be issues ahead. We will ensure proper parity. It is not over done, we will be more thorough to provide proper clarity
“The expansion being sought on the board is in line with the CBN position.it is to show our optimized board size. As we are presently in ten countries three continents and having 600 branches. To run the bank branches is quite enormous and challenging. It will ensure a bigger and stronger bank for shareholders.
The tier one lender noted as at the end of its financial year ended December 31, 2018 showed an increase of 58 percent in Profit after Tax (PAT) to N95.0 billion from N60.1 billion in the corresponding period of 2017.
The result showed Gross Earnings rising 15percent to N528.7 billion in FY 2018, compared to N459.1 billion in 2017, with interest and non-interest income contributing 72 percent and 26 percent respectively. Profit before Tax (PBT) for the period was N103.2 billion, showing 32 percent growth from N78.2 billion in 2017 while Return on Average Equity (ROAE) stood at 19 percent with a Return on Asset of 2.1 percent in FY 2018.
The asset base of the Bank remained strong and diversified with growth of 21 percent YTD in total assets to N4.95 trillion in December 2018 from N4.10 trillion in December 2017. Loans and Advances totaled N2.14 trillion as at December 2018 (December 2017: N2.06 trillion). Customer deposits increased by 14 percent to N2.57 trillion in December 2018, from N2.25 trillion in December 2017. Capital Adequacy (CAR) remained adequate at 20.8 percent, taking into consideration the regulatory transitional arrangement of IFRS 9 implementation. On a full impact basis, CAR stood at 19.9%. Similarly, Liquidity ratios of 50.9 percent (December 2017: 47.2%), remained well above regulatory requirements.
Speaking further on its performance, Wigwe said, “2018 marked a significant year of progress for the Bank amidst an unfavourable macro climate. We made solid progress throughout 2018 in line with our 2018-2022 five-year strategy, and we remain committed to the achievement of our strategic imperatives going forward; as we continue to invest in our people and technology in order to improve operational efficiency and service touch points with earnings growth in 2019.”
According to him, the contribution of the Bank’s subsidiaries to Group profits grew 116 percent to N27.9 billion, underlined by the effective implementation of overall strategy.
“In pursuit of our vision to be one of the leading Banks in Nigeria, we took accelerated strides in the last quarter of the year towards achieving our overall retail strategy. The merger with Diamond Bank will enable us to fully entrench ourselves in the retail market with a view to lowering our funding cost. This transaction is anticipated to be completed by April 2019, resulting in the creation of an enlarged, efficient and digitally led tier 1 retail banking franchise,” he stated.