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Fitch Affirms Union Bank’s Long-term Issuer Rating at ‘B-, Stable Outlook

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Following a comprehensive rating process, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Union Bank’s Long-Term Issuer Default Rating at ‘B- with a stable outlook.

The lender’s Long Term National rating was also upgraded from ‘BBB- (nga)’ to ‘BBB (nga), with its Short-Term National Rating upgraded to ‘F2 (nga)’ from ‘F3 (nga)’.

According to the rating agency, the upgrade to Union Bank’s national ratings reflects the lender’s increased creditworthiness relative to other issuers in Nigeria and the relative strength of its funding and liquidity profile.

Fitch in the rating report stated: “Union’s Long-Term IDR is driven by its intrinsic creditworthiness, as defined by its ‘b-‘ Viability Rating (VR).The VR also reflects Union’s concentration and sensitivity to Nigerian operating environment risks and moderate franchise.

“This is balanced by a stable funding and liquidity profile and adequate profitability for the bank’s risk profile. The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch’s view that risks to Union’s credit profile are captured at the current rating level, with sufficient headroom, under our base case, to absorb the fallout from operating environment pressures.”

The agency also explained “Union (Bank)’s National Ratings reflect its creditworthiness relative to other issuers in Nigeria and are driven by its standalone strength. The upgrade of Union’s Long-Term National Rating reflects its increased creditworthiness relative to other Nigerian issuers. Its Short-Term National Rating is the higher of the two possible options for a ‘BBB (nga)’ Long-Term National Rating under Fitch’s criteria, reflecting the relative strength of the bank’s funding and liquidity profile, which reduces the vulnerability of default on its short-term local-currency obligations within Nigeria.Union’s 16.1% total capital adequacy ratio at end-1H21 is modestly above its 15per cent minimum regulatory requirement and is supported by qualifying subordinated debt of N30 billion (equivalent to 17per cent of eligible capital), which matures in 2029.”

Union Bank continues to remain resilient in the face of a persistently challenging economic environment, delivering a 1.4per cent increase in Profit Before Tax (PBT), to N11.5 billion in H1 2021 compared to N11.3 billion in H1 2020.

This steady performance reflects the Bank’s successful efforts in growing transaction volumes by leveraging its strong brand, nationwide presence and customer-focused segmentation approach to deliver higher revenues across board.

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

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Banking Sector

Foreign Exchange: First Bank to Discontinue Dollar Transactions on Naira Card

First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

First Bank of Nigeria has announced that international transactions on its naira MasterCard will be suspended, Starting from 30th, September 2022. 

In a recent email that First Bank sent to its customers, the bank stated customers will no longer be able to perform international transactions on First Bank Naira credit card, virtual card and visa prepaid card. 

The message read, “Due to current market realities on foreign exchange, you will no longer be able to use the Naira Mastercard, Naira Credit Card, our Virtual card and Visa Prepaid Naira card for international transactions. This will take effect on 30 September 2022,” First Bank said. 

The message added that customers can only use their multicurrency and other permitted cards to make international transactions. 

“Please use your Visa Debit Multicurrency Card, Visa Prepaid (USD) Card and Visa Gold Credit Card to continue transacting abroad with limits of up to $10,000.” The statement concluded.

It could be recalled that in July 2022, Standard Chartered Bank also suspended international transactions on its naira visa debit card. 

Other banks that have suspended international transactions on naira cards include Flutterwave, Eversend and other financial technology platforms.

Investors King had earlier reported that Nigerian banks have reduced international transactions to $20 on Naira cards due to the ongoing foreign exchange scarcity in Nigeria.

The reduction started in 2020 from $500 to $100 in 2021. In March 2022, many of the financial institutions subsequently reduced international transactions on naira cards to $20. 

At the 364th Bankers Committee Meeting in Abuja in 2021, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele disclosed that the apex bank will stop supplying foreign currency to Deposit Money Bank (DMBs) otherwise known as commercial banks by the end of the year.  He, therefore, urges them to source for their foreign exchange from export proceeds.

 

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Finance

FG Plans to Borrow to Finance 2023 Budget as Debt Profile Hits N42.84 Trillion

Nigeria’s total public debt stock is now N42.84 trillion, or $103.31 billion as of June 2022

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United States Dollar - Investors King Ltd

With the drop in oil production and Nigeria’s revenue generation, Nigeria’s public debt is projected to increase further in 2022 and 2023.

According to the Debt Management Office (DMO), Nigeria’s total public debt stock is presently N42.84 trillion, or $103.31 billion as of June 2022. 

As of March 2022, Nigeria’s total debt profile was N41.60 trillion or $100.07 billion. This shows an increase of N1.24 trillion in three months. 

Investors King learnt from the statement published on the DMO website on Tuesday that the total debt represents the domestic and external debt stocks of the federal government, the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

The statement further clarified that the foreign component of the debt stands at N16.61 trillion, or $39.96 billion, the same figure it was in March 2022. While the local component increased to N26.23 trillion or $63.24 billion.

The statement also disclosed that a higher proportion (58 percent) of the external debts were concessional and semi-concessional loans which the government obtained from multilateral financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, Afrexim and African Development Bank. 

These concessions and semi- concessions include loans from bilateral lenders such as Germany, China, Japan, India and France,”

Meanwhile, the increase in domestic debt stock from N24.98 trillion or $60.1 billion in March to N26.23 trillion or $63.24 billion in June was due to the credit facilities which the Federal Government raised to part-finance the deficit in the 2022 budget. 

Nigeria’s rising debt profile has been a major subject of discussion among analysts. Investors King earlier reported that the 2023 budget proposal has a deficit of more than N12 trillion which will likely be financed by another set of borrowings and subsequently increase the country’s debt profile. 

Nevertheless, the Debt Management Office, however, stated that Nigeria’s Debt-to-GDP ratio remains under control at 23.06 percent, Nigeria’s self-imposed limit of 40 percent. 

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Insurance

Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Grows Profit After Tax by 75 in 2021

Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Limited grew profit after tax by a whopping 75% to ₦1.13 billion, up from ₦646 million recorded in 2020.

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Prudential Zenith Life Insurance

Despite rising economic uncertainties and the challenging business environment experienced in 2021, Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Limited grew profit after tax by a whopping 75% to ₦1.13 billion, up from ₦646 million recorded in 2020.

The company disclosed this in its audited financial statement for the period ended December 31, 2021, and obtained by Investors King on Monday.

In the financial statement approved by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Gross Written Premium (GWP) and Annualized Premium Equivalent (APE) expanded by 16.3% and 9.3%, respectively. This was a result of the 27% growth recorded in new business acquisition for Group Life written during the period.

Similarly, investment income grew by 30% year-on-year due to a significant increase in the interest-generating assets of the company, and commission income also increased by 43% during the period.

The financial performance is a testament to the continued focus on investments, as the company remains committed to building a strong market-leading position in Nigeria by enhancing its capabilities, strengthening its digitally enabled multi-channel distribution network, and broadening the range of products and services that are available to customers in order to meet their needs.

Despite the challenges experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Prudential Zenith was able to achieve this strong growth in 2021 and is poised to continue improving its performance in the upcoming financial years. Prudential Zenith will continue to develop and launch unique products to meet customers’ needs, leveraging technology and its core corporate governance structure to deliver faster claims settlement. The company will also continue to prioritize the health, safety, and welfare of customers, who subscribe to its unique insurance product offerings.

Prudential Zenith Life Insurance Ltd (PZL) is a subsidiary of Prudential Plc., established in 2017 when Prudential Plc acquired a 51% holding in Zenith Life Insurance. PZL is one of the most capitalized companies in the Nigerian insurance industry with a wide range of individual products including savings & investments-linked products, endowment, and protection products designed to meet the needs of individuals and their families.  For corporate clients, the company’s product offerings include Group Life, Key-Man Assurance, Credit Life, School Fees Protection, and Mortgage Protection, ensuring that the welfare of clients’ staff and families are met.

Prudential Plc provides life and health insurance, and asset management in Africa and Asia, helping people get the most out of life by making healthcare affordable and accessible and by promoting financial inclusion. Prudential protects people’s wealth, helps them grow their assets, and empowers them to save for their goals. It has more than 19 million life customers and is listed on stock exchanges in London (PRU), Hong Kong (2378), Singapore (K6S), and New York (PUK).

Prudential Plc has insurance operations in eight countries in Africa: Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Togo Uganda, and Zambia.  With over 1 million customers, Prudential Africa works with over 11,000 agents and six exclusive bank partnerships, with access to over 600 branches to bring value-added insurance solutions to its customers.

 

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