In a clear demonstration of its resilience and strong market share, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the half-year ended 30 June 2019, recording positive growth across key financial metrics, thus affirming the bank’s position as one of the leading financial institutions in Africa. As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank also announced a proposed interim dividend pay-out of 30 kobo per share.
Gross earnings grew by 3% from ₦322.2 billion to ₦331.6 billion driven by the significant growth of 24% (YoY) in non-interest income from ₦88.6 billion in H1 2018 to ₦109.7 billion in H1 2019. In particular, fees from electronic products increased by ₦17bn (168%) from ₦10bn in H1 2018 to ₦27 in H1 2019, demonstrating significant progress in our retail banking initiatives. This top-line growth filtered through to the bottom-line as Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to ₦111.7 billion reflecting a 4% growth over ₦107.4 billion reported in H1 2018 with earnings per share (EPS) increasing by 9% to ₦2.83 in H1 2019 from ₦2.60 compared to the prior period.
Between December 2018 and June 2019, the Group’s total deposit increased by 3% with retail deposits growing by ₦267 billion (31%), from ₦861 billion to close at ₦1.1 trillion. Despite the growth in our deposit base, we optimized interest expense leading to a 4% reduction from ₦74.7 billion to ₦72.1 billion due to the Group’s improved funding mix and our profound treasury management skills. Net Interest Margins (NIMs) witnessed a compression from 10% in the same period last year to 8.6% in H1 2019, as a result of the declining yield environment but the cost of funds improved from 3.4% to 3.0%.
Our robust risk management ensured that our absolute Gross Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained flat. However, the marginal movement in NPL ratio was as a result of the 3% reduction in our loan book from ₦2.02 trillion as at December 2018 to ₦1.95 trillion at the end of the period. We are creatively deploying new retail loan products to ensure we capture a reasonable share of the retail loan market. We remain committed to maintaining our strong balance sheet with a liquidity ratio at 74.6% and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 25%, ensuring we remain above regulatory thresholds.
Going into the second half of the year, we will continue to consolidate our leadership in the corporate space while our retail banking drive will continue unabated. We expect to see an improvement in economic activities even as we maintain our promise of delivering a unique service experience to our customers.
Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, the bank was recently ranked as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in 2018 by The Banker Magazine. Similarly, Zenith Bank was recognized as the Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by The World Finance for the sixth time just as Ethical Boardroom, a Europe based Boardroom watchdog reaffirmed this recognition by naming the bank as the Best Bank in Corporate Governance in 2018. Recognition has also come the way of the bank as it was recently named as the Best Institution in Sustainability Reporting in Africa 2018 (SERAS Awards) and the Bank of the Year 2018 (BusinessDay).
COVID19 UPDATE: Jigawa, Sokoto states receive ambulance from BUA Foundation
“These ambulances will help enhance the efficiency of the State Government’s response to the pandemic,” said Jigawa State Governor, Muhammad Badaru Abubakar.
The Governors of Jigawa and Sokoto States today, received ambulances from the BUA Foundation to boost their fight against the dreaded Covid-19 coronavirus currently ravaging the world. This is coming as the NCDC announced over the weekend that the total number of cases has exceeded the 8,000 mark across the country.
Speaking at the handover ceremonies in the state capitals of Dutse and Sokoto respectively, Governor Muhammad Badaru Abubakar of Jigawa State whilst receiving the Ambulances from Abdullahi Aminu, General Manager, BUA Rice, described the donation of the ambulances as timely and said that the state government is grateful for the support by the BUA Foundation in this time of need.
“These ambulances will help enhance the efficiency of the State Government’s response to the pandemic,” he said.
In his comments, the Sokoto State Governor, Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, in the Sokoto State Capital, thanked the Chairman of the BUA Foundation and BUA Cement, Abdul Samad Rabiu, for being a partner in the true sense of the word in Sokoto State. It will be recalled that BUA Cement, which is the largest private employer of labour in the North West, had earlier provided N100million Naira to the Sokoto State Covid-19 response fund.
According to the representatives of BUA Foundation, BUA will continue to support various mechanisms aimed at helping the country flatten the curve whilst curbing the spread of the virus. It was also revealed that the company set aside about 20million dollars at the start of the crisis to support various efforts to fight the virus through the provision of equipment, cash, grants, and infrastructure support.
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NSE Reports Positive Performance Across Asset Classes
“Supported by recovering oil prices, resumption of economic activities and attractive valuations, we have seen the NSE ASI rally from -20.6% in March to -6.1% return Year-to-Date.” – Oscar Onyema
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE or The Exchange) has remained attractive in terms of dividend yield and market valuation ratios, with the All Share Index outperforming peer exchanges in Africa. This was revealed by the Chief Executive Officer, NSE, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON during the Stakeholder Engagement Series which held on Wednesday, 27 May 2020.
Highlighting NSE’s performance so far in 2020, Mr. Onyema said, “Supported by recovering oil prices, resumption of economic activities and attractive valuations, we have seen the NSE ASI rally from -20.6% in March to -6.1% return Year-to-Date. This is particularly noteworthy when compared to other leading African Exchanges including the JSE/FTSE ASI (-13.1%); Nairobi ASI (-15.6%); and BRVM Composite (-17.5%); EGX 30 ( -27.6%). We have also experienced increased activity from domestic investors who currently represent 59% of equity value traded for the first time in ten years, as well as from retail participants who are taking advantage of low valuations and high dividends.”
Looking at other asset classes, Mr. Onyema reported that the market capitalization in the fixed income space has risen by 8.91% to N14.02Tn ($36.32Bn) from N12.92Tn ($35.44Bn) as at the end of 2019 as a result of increased listing activity from the Federal Government and Nigerian corporates. While the ETF market has seen mixed sentiments from investors owing to activities in the equities market. Of the ten listed ETFs, The Exchange reports significant returns in the New Gold ETF with a 48.94% return YTD and the VETIVA S&P NIGERIA SOVEREIGN BOND ETF with 16.28% return YTD.
Speaking to the resilience of the capital market, the Acting Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Ms. Mary Uduk, represented by Mr. Okey Umeano, Head, Office of the Chief Economist at the SEC said, “We are proud to report that our market continues to function seamlessly and perform positively during this pandemic. As the regulator of the market, we recognize that COVID-19 has ushered us into a new normal that is here to stay, and we are committed to performing our activities in the best possible way to make the Nigerian capital market attractive and responsive.”
The virtual session provided a platform for Mr. Onyema to engage with existing and potential domestic and foreign investors in Nigeria’s capital market in line with The Exchange’s commitment to promoting market development.
NSE, IFC Highlight Gender Implications of COVID-19 in Inaugural Seminar Under the Nigeria2Equal Program
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in our lives and businesses. There is a valid concern that the current economic challenges will exacerbate gender inequality.”
The Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE” or “The Exchange”) in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has launched the Nigeria2Equal Programme with an inaugural seminar on Monday, 25 May 2020. The webinar, themed, “Gender Implications of COVID-19: Supporting Women as Employees in the New Normal” highlighted the differential socioeconomic impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on men and women, with women predicted to face more negative impacts.
In addressing concerns around women at home and in the workplace during this crisis, the Head, Shared Services Division, NSE, Bola Adeeko said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented changes in our lives and businesses. There is, however, the valid concern that the current economic challenges will exacerbate gender inequality, especially because women are inappropriately represented in the informal sector and they are equally under-represented in more senior levels of management in the corporate world. This seminar, therefore, features a panel of seasoned and experienced experts to discuss best practices on how companies can develop the appropriate actions during and after this pandemic while re-aligning their business structures to the new realities.”
Speaking to the critical need to advance gender equality today, the Country Manager, IFC Nigeria, Eme Lore Essien said “In times of crisis, gender issues can sometimes be relegated to the backseat. The insights shared today bring to the fore to the urgent need for us to think outside the box for more gender-sensitive responses to the needs of the business, particularly in a post-COVID economy. The IFC is committed to providing a platform for knowledge sharing especially for female entrepreneurs who are successfully navigating the world of professionalism whilst balancing home life. We are particularly thankful to the NSE for supporting us in providing one of such platforms today.”
The event featured a panel discussants of thought leaders across business, academic and the civil society spaces including: Head, Trading Business Division, NSE, Jude Chiemeka; Director, Sustainable Business Initiative, University of Edingburgh, Professor Kenneth Amaeshi; Country Head, Human Capital, Stanbic IBTC, Funke Amobi; and Chief Executive, CSR-in-Action, Bekeme Masade-Olowola.
Speakers were in agreement that more women are experiencing increased burden of being traditional caregivers even as families spend more time at home. This to them will inadvertently lead to a decrease in productivity, further reinforcing gender segregation at this time, therefore, leading to heavy job attrition. They emphasized the need for Corporates to be proactive in creating support systems for female employees through frequent engagements, executive coaching, access to professional support, to name a few.