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Banks, Others Pay N578.114bn Dividends to Shareholders

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  • Banks, Others Pay N578.114bn Dividends to Shareholders

A total of N578.114bn dividends has so far been declared for payment to shareholders by companies that have held their Annual General Meetings for the 2018 financial year.

According to the latest data obtained from the Nigerian Stock Exchange by our correspondent, Dangote Cement Plc paid the highest dividend of N16 per share, which translated to N272.640bn.

Guaranty Trust Bank Plc paid N80.84bn dividend, Zenith Bank Plc paid a total of N78.491bn dividend, Nestlé Nigeria Plc paid N30.517bn, Access Bank Plc paid N17.772bn and Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc paid N15.361bn.

Nigerian Breweries Plc, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, FBN Holdings, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria Plc, Total Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, 11 Plc and Okomu Oil Palm Plc paid N14.634bn, N13.212bn, N10.641, N9.333bn, N5.257bn, N4.753bn, N3.187bn, N2.975bn and N2.862bn, respectively.

FCMB Group Plc paid N2.773bn, Nascon Allied Industries Plc paid N2.650bn, Julius Berger Nigeria Plc paid N2.640bn, Custodian Investment Plc paid N2.059bn, CAP Plc paid N2.031bn, United Capital Plc paid N1.8bn, and Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc paid N1.219bn.

Wema Bank Plc, Transcorp Hotels Plc and Africa Prudential Plc paid N1.157bn, N1.140bn and N1bn, respectively.

Other companies paid dividends in nine digits, while one company― The Initiates Plc ― paid in six digits (N444,990).

Some shareholders have expressed their displeasure over the dividends paid by the companies.

The shareholders, who expected to have received higher dividends, complained at different Annual General Meetings in Lagos, describing the dividends paid as meagre.

A shareholder with Union Bank of Nigeria, Mrs Olubukola Adesanmi, said, “The dividend is too small; we are just trying to manage it. We believe companies can do better.

“We know there are some issues facing the companies; they keep complaining about taxes, fines and all those things. What they are giving us is ‘kobo-kobo’ but we are just trying to manage it; it is not commensurate with the investments we have.

“I have shares in other banks, like FCMB, Wema Bank, and insurance and fast-moving consumer goods companies; the story is all the same. I have over 500 shares in Union Bank.”

Another shareholder, Mr Kehinde Oniwinde, said he always tried to register his displeasure during AGMs.

He said some companies had not even paid dividends in a long time and nothing was done to them.

According to him, it is unfair that shareholders are not being well compensated or not compensated at all in some cases.

Oniwinde said, “Companies can do better; we always encourage the companies to try and do better. What do you expect when you invest money? You expect to make gain; you don’t expect any loss; but if the loss comes, there must be a reason for it and it should not be a regular thing.

“For some of us that have quite a number of shares in companies, I think a lot more can be done. Those that don’t pay dividends should be probed; there should be a consideration for people that invest money in the company.

“I have been buying shares since the ’70s and I have shares in 72 companies; some about N20m, some N12m, and others less than N10m. I expect these investments to yield tangible returns.”

The President, Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Dr Faruk Umar, said although no shareholder had come to him personally to complain, he confirmed that many shareholders had complained about low dividends at different AGMs.

He stated that he was also not pleased with the dividends paid by some companies, citing the United Bank for Africa Plc and FBN Holdings.

Umar said, “I also complained that the dividend paid by UBA should have been N1 rather than 85 kobo. But the group managing director said that they would try to achieve it next year.

“At the AGM of FBN Holdings, I also complained about the dividend but they gave a good explanation that they would try to achieve one digit Non-Performing Loan ratio, which would enable them to pay N1 dividend.

“If you look at the profitability, it is very high. If not because of the NPL ratio, they would have paid close to N1. So, I commend them for the 26 kobo they paid, which they said was from their insurance and merchant bank subsidiaries.”

Umar added that he was sure that when the group achieved one-digit NPL, it would be able to pay a dividend from the banking subsidiary, which would increase the amount to be received.

He said he had received explanations from banks, which said dividends were regulated by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Umar said his findings revealed that if the NPL ratio was one digit, banks would not be outlawed by the CBN to pay dividends.

He said, “If you also look at the first-quarter results, many companies have not recorded losses; they have improved marginally on their profits. I am hopeful that the dividend next year will be higher than the one paid in 2018.”

The Group Chairman, UBA, Mr Tony Elumelu, noted that the year 2018 was not rosy for many companies because of the difficult operating environment.

He said the economy witnessed a slow recovery but the bank tried its best to deliver good results and value for shareholders.

He assured shareholders that being a shareholder himself, he would ensure that the request for an upward review of dividends was considered while hoping for better economic and operating environment.

The President, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr Sunny Nwosu, said a lot of regulatory changes, such as the IFRS 9, coupled with the difficult operating environment, contributed to the poor performance of companies.

He said although the dividends paid were below some shareholders’ expectations, companies that paid dividends should be lauded for even the little paid, adding that some companies had not even paid dividends in years.

The President, Constance Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr Shehu Mikali, said he did not believe the dividends were small.

He stated that the dividends were quite reasonable, taking into consideration the business environment that such companies operated in during the year.

Mikali said, “Most of the companies have been able to pay; so, we have to give kudos to them because it is not easy to do business in an area where there are insecurity and infrastructural challenges.

“The dividends are better than nothing, and this time is better because some of the companies that have not paid in a while paid dividends this year.”

He stated that rather than complain, shareholders ought to give advice to such companies on how they feel the company could better perform and urge the government to make the economic environment more palatable and conducive for companies.

He added that the government should also work on constituting the board of directors of the Securities and Exchange Commission to enable the apex regulatory authority of the capital market to perform better.

“If it is a government that knows what it is doing, these are areas it ought to have done something about. When all that needs to be put in place with respect to regulation had been done and the regulators are doing their best to investors’ interest, we will have better accountability from such companies and better returns,” Mikali noted.

He described the Nigerian economy as a viable place to do business, saying the government could do more to make it better.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Banking Sector

CRC Credit Bureau Celebrates 15 Years with Record 14% Credit Penetration in Nigeria

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CRC Credit Bureau Limited celebrated its 15th anniversary with a record 14% credit penetration rate.

The occasion was marked with the CRC Finance and Credit Conference 2024 held in Lagos, where key industry stakeholders gathered to reflect on the bureau’s journey and discuss future trends in credit risk management.

Founded in January 2010 and licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), CRC Credit Bureau has played a pivotal role in enhancing access to credit across Nigeria.

Dr. Tunde Popoola, the Group Managing Director/CEO of CRC Credit Bureau Limited, highlighted the bureau’s journey, noting that from its inception with a single product, CRC has expanded its offerings to 18 products covering all aspects of the lending value chain.

Speaking at the conference, Dr. Popoola underscored the bureau’s contribution to Nigeria’s financial sector, stating, “CRC Credit Bureau has been instrumental in transforming access to credit in Nigeria over the past 15 years. We started with a vision to simplify credit access through reliable data and have since grown to serve millions of Nigerians.”

The event focused on the theme “Sustainable Financing Options: Innovations in Credit Risk Management,” emphasizing the importance of sustainable finance amid economic challenges.

The conference provided a platform for stakeholders to discuss strategies for mitigating risks and enhancing the efficiency of credit operations in Nigeria.

Reflecting on the current state of credit penetration, Dr. Popoola noted that while Nigeria has made significant progress, the 14% penetration rate still falls below global benchmarks.

He highlighted that CRC Credit Bureau currently holds credit scores for 33 million Nigerians, facilitating over 29.4 million searches in 2023 alone, with an additional 10 million searches conducted in the first quarter of 2024.

Joel Owoade, Chairman of CRC’s Board of Directors, acknowledged the economic headwinds impacting businesses in Nigeria but stressed the importance of sustainable financing to mitigate risks associated with lending.

“As we navigate economic fluctuations, sustainable financing remains crucial to fostering economic stability and growth,” Owoade remarked.

The conference also featured insights from industry experts on leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) in credit risk management and regulatory frameworks to support AI-driven innovations.

Olaniyi Yusuf, Managing Partner of Verraki, highlighted the potential of AI to create jobs and enhance economic productivity, calling for supportive regulatory environments that balance innovation with risk management.

Representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) emphasized the regulator’s efforts to promote sustainable credit practices.

Dr. Adetona Adedeji, Acting Director of the Banking Supervision Department at CBN, outlined initiatives such as the National Collateral Registry and Global Standing Instruction aimed at enhancing credit access while minimizing risks.

As CRC Credit Bureau looks ahead, Dr. Popoola expressed optimism about the future, stating, “We remain committed to driving greater financial inclusion and expanding credit access in Nigeria. Our focus is on leveraging technology and strategic partnerships to deliver innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of consumers and lenders.”

The celebration of CRC Credit Bureau’s 15th anniversary underscored its pivotal role in Nigeria’s financial sector, marking a milestone in the nation’s journey towards broader financial inclusion and sustainable economic growth.

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Nigeria’s Public Debt Hits N101tn as World Bank Loans Soar to $4.95bn

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Nigeria’s public debt has breached the N101 trillion mark, driven by a substantial influx of loans from the World Bank totaling $4.95 billion over the past twelve months.

This surge in borrowing has raised concerns about the country’s ability to service its growing debt obligations amidst economic challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and fluctuating global oil prices.

As of December 2023, Nigeria’s debt stood at approximately N97 trillion, according to data from the Debt Management Office (DMO).

The recent borrowing spree has propelled this figure to N101 trillion, reflecting a rapid escalation in the country’s indebtedness.

The loans from the World Bank are earmarked for various developmental projects, including critical sectors such as power, women empowerment, education, renewable energy, and economic reforms.

These initiatives are part of Nigeria’s broader strategy to enhance infrastructure, socio-economic development, and institutional reforms aimed at bolstering long-term growth and resilience.

The breakdown of the World Bank funding includes $750 million allocated for power sector financing aimed at improving electricity generation and distribution, which remains a persistent challenge in Nigeria.

Another $500 million is dedicated to women’s empowerment programs, focusing on expanding opportunities and economic inclusion for women across the country.

Also, $700 million has been allocated to support education initiatives, particularly for adolescent girls under the Adolescent Girls Initiative for Learning and Empowerment project.

This funding seeks to enhance access to quality education and empower young girls in Nigeria.

Moreover, the World Bank has committed $750 million to the Distributed Access through Renewable Energy Scale-up project, aimed at increasing electricity access through renewable energy solutions.

This initiative targets over 17.5 million Nigerians who currently lack reliable electricity.

The largest tranche of $1.5 billion is designated for Economic Stabilisation to Enable Transformation Development Policy Financing Programme. This funding is intended to bolster fiscal revenues, expand social safety nets, and support economic diversification efforts to reduce dependency on oil revenues.

Despite these investments aimed at driving economic growth and improving living standards, concerns linger over Nigeria’s ability to effectively manage its escalating debt burden.

The country’s debt servicing costs have risen significantly, diverting resources away from critical sectors such as healthcare, education, and infrastructure development.

Critics argue that while external financing is necessary for development, the government must ensure transparency, accountability, and effective utilization of borrowed funds to avoid the pitfalls of previous debt mismanagement.

There is also a growing call for stringent fiscal discipline and reforms to enhance revenue generation and reduce dependency on borrowing.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has defended the borrowing, asserting that it is crucial for bridging infrastructure gaps, stimulating economic growth, and creating job opportunities.

However, stakeholders emphasize the need for prudent debt management and sustainable economic policies to safeguard Nigeria’s financial stability and long-term prosperity.

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Insurance

Sanlam to Acquire 60% Stake in MultiChoice’s Insurance Arm for R1.2bn

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South African insurance giant Sanlam Limited has announced plans to acquire a 60% stake in NMS Insurance Services (NMSIS), the insurance subsidiary of pay TV operator MultiChoice Group, for R1.2 billion.

This strategic acquisition aims to enhance Sanlam’s footprint in the African insurance market and leverage MultiChoice’s extensive subscriber base across the continent.

In a joint statement released on Tuesday, both companies revealed that the deal includes a long-term commercial arrangement designed to expand insurance and related financial services to MultiChoice’s diverse audience.

The transaction also features a performance-based cash earn-out potential of up to R1.5 billion, contingent upon the gross written premium generated by NMSIS by the end of 2026.

Paul Hanratty, CEO of Sanlam Group, expressed optimism about the acquisition, stating, “This partnership provides a unique opportunity to combine our market presence and technological capabilities, fostering growth and market penetration while creating synergies beneficial to all stakeholders.”

Calvo Mawela, CEO of MultiChoice, highlighted the strategic significance of the collaboration, noting, “This deal not only enhances the value we provide to our subscribers but also taps into Sanlam’s expertise to drive innovation and growth in our insurance offerings across Africa. It’s a testament to the hard work and dedication of our teams.”

NMSIS has shown impressive growth, with gross written premiums increasing by 36% year-on-year and profit after tax rising by 51% in the first quarter of 2024.

MultiChoice plans to use the proceeds from the sale for working capital while retaining a 40% interest in NMSIS.

The move comes as MultiChoice faces economic challenges, including a 13% drop in subscribers in key markets such as Nigeria, Angola, Kenya, and Zambia due to economic hardships and currency devaluations.

Despite these setbacks, the partnership with Sanlam is seen as a strategic step to bolster its financial services offerings and stabilize revenue streams.

The announcement also follows recent regulatory developments, with MultiChoice entering a Cooperation Agreement with Groupe Canal+ SA after Canal+ acquired a 45.20% stake in MultiChoice, necessitating a mandatory offer under South African takeover regulations.

As the African insurance market continues to grow, Sanlam’s acquisition of a significant stake in NMSIS positions both companies to capitalize on emerging opportunities, providing innovative insurance solutions to millions of customers across the continent.

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