Union Bank of Nigeria Plc’s shareholders recently approved the proposal to cancel N54.46 billion accumulated permanent losses in the books of the commercial bank.
In a meeting held in Lagos, shareholders directed the board of directors to reduce the bank’s share premium account by N54.46 billion. The move is expected to net off the legacy deficit whilst removing the main drawback that had disallowed the commercial bank from paying dividends from its net profit.
In accordance with the shareholders decision, which is subject to a court’s confirmation, the bank’s issued share capital (including for this purpose its share premium account), will be reduced by the sum of N54.458 billion, which has been lost or is otherwise unrepresented by available assets. More so, the credit arising from the reduction will be used to eliminate the retained loss in the company’s audited financial statements as at December 31, 2018.
How the deficit occurred: The bank stated that a review of its financial position as at December 31, 2018, established a deficit of N54.46 billion as accumulated permanent losses from legacy transactions. This is in addition to the N247.87 billion, which had been approved by shareholders in 2017.
The commercial bank further explained that the proposed balance sheet restructuring will not affect its issued share capital or regulatory capital. However, it will result in a reduction of the credit balance in the bank’s share premium account, while leaving the aggregate shareholders’ funds unchanged. According to Union Bank;
“It would have no impact on the bank’s creditors, but rather pave the way for the bank’s investors to receive dividends out of the bank’s future profits.”
Union Bank grew its net profit by 39 per cent to N18.1 billion in 2018, but the bank could not declare dividend due to extant rules that disallow companies with retained deficit from dividend payment. Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of Union Bank for the year ended December 31, 2018 showed that gross earnings dropped by 11 per cent from N163.8 billion in 2017 to N145.5 billion in 2018. Net interest income declined by 17 per cent from N66.7 billion to N55.4 billion while non-interest income also dropped from N39.3 billion to N35.2 billion.
With 113 per cent reduction in credit impairment, net income after impairments increased by 16 per cent from N80.64 billion to N93.5 billion. Profit before tax thus increased by 33 per cent from N13.9 billion to N18.5 billion. Profit after tax also rose from N13 billion to N18.1 billion. Earnings per share, however, declined by 11 per cent from 72 kobo in 2017 to 61 kobo in 2018.