SHAREHOLDERS of United Bank for Africa Plc have unanimously approved the dividend payout of N22.230 billion, representing a total dividend of N1.00 comprising of N0.20 interim dividend which was already paid by mid-2017 and a final dividend of N0.80 per every 50 kobo shares.
At the Annual General Meeting of the leading Pan-Africa financial services group, on Monday, shareholders also appreciated the efforts of the Board and Management of the Group in delivering impressive results and engendering returns of investment to its shareholder particularly the contributions of the subsidiaries which contributed over 45 percent of the Group’s income.
Boniface Okezie, the National Coordinator of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), congratulated the Group for its unprecedented success in the African Continent.
“I want to especially commend the management of UBA especially the Chairman, Tony Elumelu and GMD/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka, who have been managing activities of this great institution for the past two years.
We the shareholders are impressed by results that you have recorded so far and the achievements that the bank has recorded under your leadership, especially the sterling contributions of our subsidiaries in Africa.
We are especially impressed about what the bank has been doing in Africa. It has gone a long way to show that good things can come from Africa. UBA has showcased a high level of ingenuity in the banking space, and we are glad for how this is translating into gains for our business,” he said.
He however urged the Managing Director not to relent in his efforts to promote the company, saying, “we, the shareholders, urge you to continue to do more and would advise Uzoka and his management team not to rest on their oars but to work harder in ensuring that this momentum is sustained and even surpassed in the coming year.”
Another shareholder, Mr Timothy Adesiyan, commended the bank for being the first bank in Africa to embrace Artificial Intelligence technology into the banking space, through the introduction of UBA’s Leo. He also pointed out the various achievements of the bank in the year under focus, which according to him had not gone unnoticed by the World Bank. He said shareholders remained impressed that the bank’s investments in key regions such as Ghana, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire were paying off, adding “UBA has become a catalyst for growth in Africa. We have been benefitting from this in the area of dividends, and we ask that this momentum is sustained.”
Addressing the shareholders earlier, the Chairman, Tony Elumelu had expressed his belief that the Group is set for greater heights, noting that while being mindful of shareholders’ appetite for immediate return on investment, the Group was committed to investing in the future of this financial services group, to achieve collective goal of building not just a good company but a great African institution with global competitiveness.
He noted that investment in UBA Group continued to deliver superior returns, while recounting that in 2017, UBA stock outperformed most peers on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, rallying 129 percent.
“In addition to the capital appreciation, the Board declared an interim dividend and have also proposed a final dividend. I am more than ever convinced about the sustainability of this impressive return profile of our investment in UBA,” he said.
Looking forward, the Group Chairman said it was forging partnerships with relevant fintech companies to deepen market penetration in the most cost-efficient manner, noting that the technology strategy was hinged on value creation and lifestyle banking for our esteemed customers.
He added that even as the Board recognised the ever-increasing competition in the market, he was confident in the ability of the management to deliver on our set goals, stating that the Board would sustain proactive oversight and strategic guidance, particularly in the areas of risk management, process and service efficiency, human capital and technology investments.
The Chief Executive Officer and Group Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka, on the financials, noted that notwithstanding the intense competition and lagged impact of the recession in Nigeria, gross earnings grew by 20 per ent to N462 billion, reflecting improved staff productivity.
He added that non-funded income grew by 12.5 percent to N118 billion, largely driven by annuity-based offerings, thus reinforcing the quality and sustainability of earnings growth.
Mr Kennedy Uzoka, however, promised shareholders that the team remained poised to do more in the coming year.
“Given the operating environment in 2017, I am very pleased with our profitability, a significant 16.1 percent growth in profit before tax to N105.3 billion, whilst we have also focused keenly on operational efficiencies, illustrated by the reduction in our Cost-to-Income Ratio, we are well-positioned to achieve more in the next financial year,” he said.
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