- UBA, GTBank, Others Meet Over Dividend Payment
The boards of directors of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Continental Reinsurance and many other quoted companies have scheduled meetings later this month to approve the audited financial statement and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2017. The meetings will, among others, consider dividend recommendation to be made to shareholders.
In separate regulatory filings, the companies indicated that their directors would be meeting to review and approve the earnings report and accounts for the 2017 business year, preparatory to sending the accounts for release to the investing public at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
Financial services companies including banks and insurance companies are statutorily required to submit approved audited results to their primary regulators for clearance before release to the NSE and the investing public.
Under the enhanced listing rules at the NSE which took effect on January 1, 2017, quoted companies are expected to submit their annual audited account to the Exchange not later than 90 calendar days after the relevant year end, and published same in at least two national daily newspapers not later than 21 calendar days before the date of the annual general meeting. They are also required to post same on their websites with the web address disclosed in the newspaper publications. Also, an electronic copy of the publication shall be filed with the Exchange on the same day as the publication.
The board of directors of UBA has scheduled its meeting for Monday, January 29, 2018, where the board will consider the financial statements for 2017 and also proposals for final dividend for the 2017 financial year. UBA had earlier paid an interim dividend of 20 kobo per share, after the audit of its 2017 half-year results.
Also, the board of directors of Continental Reinsurance has scheduled to meet on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 in Lagos. Company Secretary, Continental Reinsurance Plc, Abimbola Falana, in a statement, confirmed that the meeting would discussed dividend payment.
The board of Pharma-Deko will also be meeting on Friday, January 26, 2018 to discuss dividend payment.
UBA had declared a final dividend of 55 kobo per share, in addition to an interim dividend of 20 kobo for the 2016 business year. With the bank’s improved performance in 2017, market analysts expected the bank to increase its payout, an expectation that has seen bullish trading on the stock. UBA’s share price rose by 129 per cent in 2017 while it has performed above average so far in 2018 with average year-to-date return of 18 per cent at the opening of the stock market on Monday.
As a mark of its sound corporate governance and in line with NSE Rule Book and the Amendments to the Listing Rules, UBA had announced commencement of its closed period on Friday, January 12, 2018, implying that directors, persons discharging managerial responsibility, employees with sensitive information, advisers and consultants of the bank and their connected persons may not directly or indirectly deal in the securities of the bank until 24 hours after the publication of its audited full year reports and accounts for 2017.
Key extracts of the interim report and accounts of UBA for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2017 showed that gross earnings rose by 26 per cent while pre and post tax profits grew by 33.2 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.
UBA’s gross earnings rose to N333.9 billion in third quarter 2017 as against N265.5 billion reported in corresponding period of 2016. Group’s operating income stood at N236.9 billion in 2017 compared with N183.3 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2016, representing a 29.3 percent growth. Profit before tax jumped to N78.3 billion in 2017 as against N58.8 billion recorded in the similar period of 2016. Profit after tax grew from N49.5 billion in 2016 to N60.9 billion in 2017.
The balance sheet showed that while the group closed the third quarter with total assets of N3.77 trillion, a year-to-date growth of 7.6 per cent, the bank prudently grew net loans to N1.6 trillion, a 6.0 per cent year-to-date growth in the loan book. Group’s shareholders’ fund grew by 13.3 per cent to N507.6 billion in 2017 while the annualized return on average equity stood at 18 per cent.
Key extracts of the interim report and accounts of GTB for the nine-month period ended September 30, 2017 showed that profit before tax rose to N150.03 billion in 2017 as against N137.99 billion recorded in comparable period of 2016. Profit after tax also increased from N117.08 billion in third quarter 2016 to N125.58 billion in third quarter 2017. Earnings per share thus increased from N4.14 in 2016 to N4.44 in 2017. However, gross earnings dropped from N329.28 billion in third quarter 2016 to N309.91 billion in third quarter 2017. The decline in the top-line was mainly due to depressed non-interest and other incomes. Interest income had grown from N181.91 billion to N248.27 billion.
The balance sheet size expanded to N3.2 trillion by September 2017 compared with N3.12 trillion recorded at the beginning of this year. Deposits from customers declined marginally from N1.99 trillion to N1.9 trillion. Shareholders’ funds meanwhile increased from N496.06 billion to N571.62 billion.