The Nigerian Insurance Sector is often regarded as the most under-performing in the financial sector, especially if you compare it to other insurance sectors across the world. At a combined market capitalization of about N146 billion it pales in comparison to the banking sector, with a market capitalization of N2.4 trillion.
Despite this seemingly low market, it is important to identify which insurance companies are the largest in terms of total assets, profits, insurance liabilities etc.
In our latest version of sector ranking for publicly quoted companies on the insurance sector, we will analyse which insurance companies dominate in some of the most important metrics investors like to look out for. Those who do not invest in the insurance sector but buy insurance should also find this analysis useful. Let’s dive in..
Ranking as at September 30th 2017
In this list, we rank the following Insurance Companies, AIICO, Connerstone Insurance Plc, Contnental Reinsurance, Custodian and Allied Insurance, Axa Mansard, NEM, Niger Insurance and WAPIC. They are all quoted companies and by far the largest in the sector full of much smaller players. This ranking also excludes Privately owned insurance companies such as Old Mutual, Leadway Insurance, Ensure Etc.
Balance sheet size
This represents the summation of a company’s fixed assets, cash balance, investments, debtors, inventory and any other asset a company has in its disposal to run a business. It is often described as the single determinant of how large a corporation is, at least based on book value. While a company may have a larger balance sheet size, it may have a low market value. The market value is the price investors are willing to pay for a company, while the balance sheet size is the nominal value of the assets the company has at its disposal.
For Insurance companies, the balance sheet size is important as it shows that they are able to carry out major risk. Since insurance is all about taking risk, companies who wish to insure their most significant asset will often prefer those with large balance sheet sizes.
As at September 2017, the Insurance Company with the largest balance sheet size is AIICO. With a balance sheet size of N83.9 billion it is the largest insurance company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. This is not a surprise, considering how long it has been in operations. Custodian and Allied Insurance follows closely with about N80 billion. The least is NEM Insurance with just N16.5 billion. Total Balance Sheet size for the companies is N333.9 billion.
Net Assets represents the value of total equity owned by the shareholders of a company. It represents the amount they invested in owning shares in the company plus net all the profits and losses they have declared over the years. As at September 2017, the total net assets of these companies was N121.4 billion. Topping the list was Custodian and Allied Insurance with N33.1 billion. Following closely is Mansard with N22.2 billion. Axa Mansard, appears to have pipped Continental Reinsurance to second place, a position the latter had in 2016. AIICO, which topped the list for balance sheet size has just N8.8 billion in Net Assets. AIICO has had a rough couple of years, posting mega losses due to its poor asset quality.
Gross Premium Income
This is perhaps one of the most important indices tracked by insurance companies in Nigeria. It represents the total amount insurance companies collected from their customers within a calendar year. This metric tells us which insurance company has the largest market share in terms of driving up premiums. From out assessment, Custodian and Allied Insurance tops the chart with a total of N27 billion in gross premium, this year so far. This about 23% of the total gross premium earned by the companies under review. Following Custodian and Allied Insurance is Mansard with N19.6 billion in gross premium. AIICO is third with N17.5 billion.
Net Premium Income
While gross premium income represents the total premium collected during a period, net premium income represents the income that is earned within the same period. Because insurance companies enter contract at any time during the year, accounting principles require that they only record as Net Premium, premiums that accrue for the calendar year. For example, the total amount of net premium collected between January and September 2017 is N67.6 billion. This means only N67.6 billion was actually earned for contracts between January and September 2017. AIICO tops this list with N14.5 billion suggesting that most of their contracts are within the calendar year. Important to add that Custodian and Allied Insurance did not report Net Premium Income.
This represents the total amount an insurance company pays its customer whenever there is a damage, theft, loss of property etc. Insurance companies that pay claims promptly is a sign that they have a strong balance sheet. However, insurance companies that pay a lot of claims might also mean that they are poor at marketing customers will low claims ratio. A total of N40 billion net claims were paid out in the sector in the first 9 months of this year. AIICO topped the list with claims of about N14.9 billion. Mansard was a distant second with about N6.7 billion in net claims. NEM Insurance paid the lowest claims for the period under review.
This is also a very important metric and shows which insurance company is making a profit from its premiums. Since insurance companies make money when claims are less than premiums, underwriting profits represents that difference. Interestingly, NEM Insurance tops the list with N3.4 billion in Underwriting Profits. The next was Custodian and Allied Insurance with N2.2 billion. Connerstone and AIICO both reported Underwriting losses. Interestingly, AIICO was tops last year with N5.3 billion.
Net Profits as it is with every company shows if a company made profit in any period under review. In the Insurance Sector, this will include, profits made from investments plus underwriting profits. Custodian & Allied Insurance tops with about N5 billion, followed by Axa Mansard at N2.8 billion for the period under review. Total profits made this year so far is about N17.5 billion compared to N17.6 billion same period in 2016.
Returns on Equity
Perhaps the most important measure, ROE determines which company made the most of their shareholders funds. AIICO surprisingly tops the chart here with about 29%, largely due to their smaller net assets. AIICO has had to wipe out a lot of its equity due to periodic losses. Next is Continental Reinsurance at 23%, while Custodian and Allied Insurance are next with 16% and 15% respectively. Returns for the Insurance sector is weak in our view coming at a combined 15%, lower than the average One year Treasury Bills yield.
Based on the above, it appears Custodian and Allied Insurance is the largest Insurance Company quoted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. It leads the market share in terms of Gross Premium and Net Assets. AIICO with the largest balance sheet size, falls short in terms of net assets. However, it is the best in terms of returns on equity. But despite having a huge balance sheet, it is only able to return 3% on its assets.
View our interactive table for the data.wpDataTable with provided ID not found!
Secret behind MTN’s blistering performance
Despite COVID-19 disruptions, MTN Nigeria’s 2020 financials showed marked improvements compared to its 2019-year-end.
MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) released its audited financial results for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.
Despite a challenging 2020 to individuals and businesses caused by COVID-19 disruptions, MTN Nigeria’s financial and non-financial information showed marked improvements compared to its 2019-year-end as well as prior quarters of 2020 results that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Indeed, the evolving pandemic which intensified lockdown, remote working, and work-from-home procedures, appeared to have led to increased adoption of MTN Nigeria data and digital services.
Specifically, year-on-year on non-financial information, mobile subscribers increased by 12.2 million to 76.5 million; active data users increased by 7.4 million to 32,6 million while the company’s mobile money business continued to accelerate with a 269.2 % increase in the number of registered agents to over 395,000 and 4.7 million active subscribers from approximately 553,000 in 2019.
Year-on-year on financial information, service revenue increased by 14.7 % to NGN1.3 trillion driven principally by voice (with revenue growth of 5.9 %) and data revenues (rising by 52.2 % led by increased data use and traffic); profit before tax (PBT) grew by 2.6 % to N298.9 billion; profit after tax (PAT) increased by 0.9 % to N205.21 billion; while Earnings per share (EPS) rose by 0.9 % to N10.1 (N9.93, 2019).
Nonetheless, significant increases were noted in its operating expenditure as well as capital expenditure. First, there was a 2.3 % increase in operating expenses arising from the rollout of new sites and the impact of naira currency depreciation affecting the costs of MTN Nigeria lease contracts. Secondly, EBITDA margin declined by 2.5 %age points to 50.9 % (from 53.4 % in 2019) There were also other significant cost rises including a 25.4 % increase in net finance cost, and 19.4 % increase in capital expenditure which had a 11.7 % knock-on increase in depreciation and amortization costs.
On the back of the year-end result, MTN Nigeria has proposed a final dividend per share (DPS) of N5.90 kobo per share to be paid out of distributable income and brings the total dividend for the year to N9.40 kobo per share, representing an increase of 18.7 %. MTN Nigeria paid N4.97 as final dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019. This was in addition to an interim dividend of N2.95, which brought its total 2019 dividend to N7.92 per share.
The proposed dividend implies a yield of 3.4%. Having paid an interim dividend of NGN3.50 in 2020, the proposed dividend, if approved, will bring the total dividend per share to NGN9.40 or c.19% higher compared with 2019. We expect a positive reaction from the market due to the marked improvement in earnings. However, the market’s reaction may be dampened by negative investor sentiments on equities arising from the uptick in yields on fixed-income securities.
We expect that the introduction of additional customer registration requirements requiring subscriber records are updated with respective National Identity Numbers (NIN), and the continued suspension of the sale and activation of new SIM cards will affect subscriber growth.
MTNN share price remains unchanged at the end of trading yesterday at N174 per share.
Tade Fadare PhD, is an economist, and a professionally qualified accountant, banker and stockbroker. He has significant experience working or consulting for financial institutions in Europe, North America, and Africa.
How does a bank make N19 billion a month?
The strategy for banks globally is to attract deposits at a lower rate than it lends out to borrowers.
How does a Financial Services Group make N19b a month, post a Profit After Tax figure of N230b in an environment where global commerce virtually ground to a halt in 2020?
The Zenith Bank Plc (Zenith) Year-end 2020 final results are a blockbuster, not just in the quantitative, but the qualitative as well. In all major headline numbers, Zenith posted growth on a Year-on-Year basis, specifically, Gross Earnings are up 5.2%, Net Interest Income up 12%, Customer deposits up 15.3%.
Somehow Zenith grew her loan book by 18% in a recession and reduced the volume of Non-Performing Loans in the same period. Zenith was also able to post a higher revenue number from non-interest income even as yields on fixed-income fell across Nigeria. I must stress, Zenith has posted these results by servicing her target segment of the high-end corporates in Nigeria.
So how did Zenith achieve this? I want to do a deep dive into how to make profits in a recession. However, it is important to start with a background on how banks make money which is basically in two ways;
- Interest income: which is income generated from the bank gathering deposits from customers and investors and “renting” out these funds to individuals and corporates for a fee called interest. Interest Income is seen as the main business of banks. It is a measure of how well the bank has fine-tuned its people, process, and systems to generate returns from a commodity called cash.
- Non-Interest Income: This is the income the bank generates from deploying its brands and people to juice revenues from activities that do not necessitate a transfer of cash. For Example, a bank asset management business leverages the bank’s skillsets to earn fees by providing investment advice to clients. Does a business want to expand? The bank can advise on the process to make that happen.
The strategy for banks globally is to attract deposits at a lower rate than it lends out to borrowers. This allows the bank generate a spread between cost and revenue. The bank’s interest spread can be magnified by the number of quality loans it creates as Interest Income rests also on the quality of the loan book. Positive spread drives the funding of other banking services and is supported by the banks internal competencies to manage risk
So a bank makes profits by
- Attracting cheap deposits
- Earning positive spread
- Providing value addition for a fee
- Effective Risk Management
All these have to happen simultaneously. A bank that sources expensive deposits by paying higher rates generates a lower spread. Lower spread exposes the bank to cost overruns and will prove fatal to long-term growth.
With this in mind, let’s review Zenith FY 2020 Performance
- Attracting Cheap Deposits: In 2019, Zenith’s total interest expense, which represents how much it paid to get deposits was N148b, that figure dropped in 2020 to N121b. this means the bank was able to grow deposits by 25% but at a lower cost. How? Zenith changed her deposit mix, reducing borrowed funds/leases and time deposits by 41% and 38% respectfully and increasing the share of current accounts by 155%. By swapping the deposit mix, the bank’s cost of funds ratio fell by 18mn%.
- Earning Higher Spread: Zenith grew Net Interest Income by 12.2% in 2020. This figure represents income earned from the deposits and investments of the banking group. Again, this was achieved by asset mix reorganization. In the face of falling rates especially on shorter-dated FGN instruments, Zenith shifted allocation from Treasury bills to longer-dated FGN bonds which paid a higher yield. Zenith’s Non-interest Income also grew to N275b a 5% jump from 2019. This is driven largely by extraordinary items including foreign currency revaluation gain, which is the gain realized from the revaluation of foreign currency-denominated assets. I must highlight this. Zenith was able to post a gain of about N43b which is a 256% gain from FY 2019 based on the Naira being devalued to the US Dollar.
- Providing Value Addition: Value addition will include all non-core banking services Zenith Group provides to the public including subsidiaries like the Zenith Penson Custodians which has N4t in assets under custody. Commission on agency and collection was a big contributor to Zenith’s non-core banking revenue.
- Risk Management: Zenith was efficient in deploying its internal competencies to minimize and avoid risk and impairments from the ordinary and extraordinary course of business. Zenith like other financial institutions saw a pullback in commercial activities from her clients. Take the Commerce subsector, the Non-Performing Loan share in that sector grew from 9% to 24%. Zenith, booked an increase in the number of NPLs by volume to N125m in FY 2020 but the bank was able to keep the NPL ratio down to 4.29%. An extraordinary feat.
Overall, the bank was able to navigate a difficult year and post a good return and a handsome dividend of N3 to investors. Zenith was able to achieve all this while increasing the staff strength by 4.6% to 7555 employees.
However, there are red flags as well:
- Net Interest Margin was down in FY 2020 as yields declined. If yield continues to stay muted, can Zenith keep finding profitable avenues to invest that N5.34 deposit base?
- Interest income positive in FY 2020 at 420b but when compared to 2017, interest income is falling.
- If you ignore the revaluation gain, then Non-Interest income will be considerably muted, possibly negative in FY 2020
- Fees on electronic products fell 36% in an environment where online banking has been not just sound business practice, but life-saving as well.
Overall, in an environment with months of local and international shutdowns, Zenith has posted good numbers and demonstrated it is possible to eke out gains from a hard environment. When one looks at the dividend yield, P.E. Ratio of the bank, for me, this is a Buy.
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