Interest Income Strengthens Growth in Gross Earnings: United Bank for Africa Plc sealed the year’s performance with an 11.44% growth in interest income, muting the 3.53% decline in non-interest income and thus resulting in a 7.04% growth in gross earnings to NGN494.04bn. Interest expense settled higher at NGN157.27bn, owing to increased borrowing cost and high-cost deposit liabilities.
As a result, net interest margin closed the year at 6.20%, pressured by the 50bps increase in cost of funds to 4.20%. Albeit operating expenses nudged higher by 4.05%, the 5.69% decline in operating income resulted in the 6.00% spike in cost-to-income ratio to 64.11%.
Profit Before Tax (PBT) and Profit After Tax (PAT) thus settled at NGN106.76bn and NGN78.60bn respectively, with return on average equity settling lower at 16.07%. Given its recently approved wholesale banking licenses for operations in London and Mali, we expect stronger contributions to global operations. Gross earnings and interest income are thus expected to grow by 10.93% and 7.21% respectively.
Balance Sheet Remains Well Diversified: UBA registered some expansion in its balance sheet in the 2018 financial year. Deposits grew by 22.89%, strengthening the bank’s ability to expand its loan book, which grew by 3.90%. Consequently, its loan to deposit ratio improved to 51.22%.
The group’s efforts at improving the quality of its loan portfolio yielded some positives as net impairment charges declined by 86.23%, shrinking cost of risk to 0.26%, while NPL ratio moderated by 20bps to 6.50%. We commend the improvement in the bank’s CASA mix and liquidity ratio to 76.93% and 50.28% respectively.
UBA’s funding base also recorded further strengthening as the drive for retail deposits continue to yield desired results.
The bank maintained its appetite for a well-diversified balance sheet with c.60.00% in liquid, low risk instruments. For 2019, we expect further improvement in its NPL ratio as its largest black swan asset, 9mobile, has finally been resolved.
Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) Increases Post IFRS 9 Implementation: Despite the NGN48.64bn equity haircut, resulting from the implementation of IFRS 9, UBA’s capital adequacy ratio settled at 23.60% at year end, inching higher by 1.61%, and still comfortably above the regulatory minimum of 16%. We expect CAR to remain at comfortable levels next year as the strategy of maintaining a strong capital base remains unchanged.
African Franchise Yields Desired Results: The contribution of its African operations (excluding Nigeria) to gross earnings increased to 48.00% in 2018. In line with its strategic vision to grow revenue and its franchise across the African continent, deposits from customers across Africa, (excluding Nigeria), also grew by 16.19% to NGN1.24trn, as the drive for retail banking penetration across Africa continues to yield desired results. With the recent branch opening in Mali London, we expect improved contributions to gross earnings from operations in Africa and the rest of the world.
Recommendation: We expect an uptick in the EPS of UBA to NGN2.46 from N2.20, premised on stronger expectations for profit at the end of the year. With an expected PE of 3.94x, we arrived at a Dec.2019 target price at NGN9.69. Compared to its trading price on the 17 th of April 2019, this presents a 49.10% upside potential. We therefore recommend a BUY.
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#EndSARS: FG expects increase in Covid-19 cases in the next 2 weeks
FG has warned that the ongoing #EndSARS protest may spark up a second wave of coronavirus.
The Federal Government has warned that Nigerians should expect an increase in the number of coronavirus cases across the country in the next 2 weeks.
This is due to the total disregard of the preventive measures against the virus during the ongoing nationwide #EndSARS protest which has been witnessing huge gatherings.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, who is also the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, at the national briefing of the task force in Abuja on Monday, October 20, 2020.
He said despite the appreciable success recorded so far in the fight against COVID-19, the ongoing protest may spark up a second wave of the virus.
Mustapha said, “I can say it authoritatively that with the ongoing protest across the country, in the next two weeks the cases of COVID-19 would have increased. Each and everyone that attended the protest and did not put up any form of protection is likely going to spread the virus. When people contract the virus during the protest gathering, they will go back home and spread it.
“This is one of the reasons why we must be extremely careful when we congregate because when you gather together in such an atmosphere where people don’t wear face masks or maintain the social distance you are creating a potential opportunity for carriers to spread the virus.
“So far we have done pretty well as a country but this protest is like a setback and we must avoid a situation where we will have a resurgence. Countries that thought they have overcome are dealing with the second wave. We are extremely lucky as a nation and we should be careful of any situation that can warrant the second wave.”
He said any mass gathering that does not adhere to the non-pharmaceutical interventions that have been put in place, like wearing of face masks, social distancing, and keeping personal hygiene, becomes a super spreader event.
What it means: With the expected spike in the number of Covid-19 cases due to these protests across the country, Nigeria runs the risk of having a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak which had before now been on a decline. This could lead to the resumption of lockdown measures by the government, in order to contain the spread of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 19th of October 2020, 118 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 61,558 confirmed cases.
On the 19th of October 2020, 118 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 11,794 samples across the country.
To date, 61,558 cases have been confirmed, 56,697 cases have been discharged and 1125 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 590,635 tests have been carried out as of October 19th, 2020 compared to 578,841 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 19th October 2020,
- Total Number of Cases – 61,558
- Total Number Discharged – 56,697
- Total Deaths – 1,1125
- Total Tests Carried out – 590,635
According to the NCDC, The 118 new cases are reported from 10 states – Lagos (51), Rivers (26), Imo (12), Osun (8), Plateau (6), FCT (5), Kaduna (4), Ogun (3), Edo (2), Niger (1)
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 20,696, followed by Abuja (5,923), Plateau (3,587), Oyo (3,415), Rivers (2,735), Edo (2,645), Kaduna (2,532), Ogun (1,983), Delta (1,812), Kano (1,741), Ondo (1,657), Enugu (1,313), Kwara (1,050), Ebonyi (1,049), Osun (916), Katsina (904), Abia (898), Gombe (883). Borno (745), and Bauchi (710).
Imo State has recorded 610 cases, Benue (484), Nasarawa (478), Bayelsa (403), Ekiti (329), Jigawa (325), Akwa Ibom (295), Anambra (275), Niger (274), Adamawa (248), Sokoto (162), Taraba (117), Kebbi (93), Cross River (87), Zamfara and Yobe (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.
Lock Down and Curfew
In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.
The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.
On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.
On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.
Nigerian firm set to raise $1.2 billion to purchase electricity meters
MAPCo plans to raise N480 billion to purchase electricity meters and to help the DISCOs plug revenue gaps in their operations.
A Nigerian firm, Meter Assets Finance and Management Company (MAPCo), has concluded plans to raise N480 billion ($1.2 billion) over the next 3 years, to purchase electricity meters and help the electricity distribution companies (DISCOs) plug revenue gaps in their operations.
This is also in line with the Federal Government’s initiative to ensure that all electricity consumers are metered, which will put an end to estimated billing by the DISCOs.
According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, less than one-tenth of Nigeria’s 41 million households have their electricity consumption metered, and half of those are faulty. As a result, distribution companies have to estimate bills, resulting in constant conflict with the consumers that delay payments.
The Chief Executive Officer of New Hampshire Capital, Onion Omonforma, said the Meter Assets Finance and Management Co. hopes to end the practice of estimated billings by raising funds to purchase and supply meters to consumers.
New Hampshire Capital, FBNQuest and Kairos Investments Africa are helping to package and structure the venture, known as MAPCo, for investors to either buy equity or inject debt into the company.
What they are saying
Omonformaa said, “The electricity distribution firms will then have the money to go back and buy more meters and the cycle continues, paving the way to close the metering gap. MAPCo will collect the cost of the meters from consumers at a premium over the next 10 years. The meters will be handed over to the power-distribution companies once paid off.’’
While disclosing that MAPCo plans to issue a N100 billion bond in the next year, Omonforma also pointed out that roadshows have been planned for the U.S. and Europe, and will include local institutional investors.
He said, “We envisage that a lot of people who are looking for a long-term instrument will key into it,”
It can be recalled that apart from repealing the estimated billing methodology in determining tariffs for electricity consumers; the Federal Government had insisted that all consumers must be metered, as part of the condition for a tariff increase.
Also, as part of the agreement reached with the organized labor in respect of the tariff increase; the Federal Government disclosed that the National Mass Metering Programme will be accelerated, with the distribution of 6 million meters to Nigerians for free.
What this means
A huge number of electricity consumers across the 36 states and the FCT are still unmetered by their respective DISCOs. This initiative by MAPCo will help bridge the existing gap, with more electricity consumers acquiring a prepaid meter and doing away with the controversial estimated billing.