Prospect of Sterling Bank Paying Higher Dividend in Future Excites Shareholders

April 26, 2019

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc have expressed optimism about the financial institution paying higher dividend to them in the nearest future as a result of its present performance.

Speaking at the recently concluded Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company in Lagos, the shareholders expressed confidence in the ability of the present board and management to take the bank to an enviable position.

They applauded the board and management for sustaining improved performance over the years, urging them not to rest on their oars.

One of the shareholders who spoke at the meeting, Mr Gbenga Idowu, who is the National Coordinator of Shareholders United Front (SUF), said the results of the bank in 2018 reflected successful and seamless management transition.

He said the financial position of the bank in the 2018 business year clearly showed that the new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Abubakar Suleiman, has the ability to provide good leadership for the executive management of the bank since April 2018 when he took over from Mr Yemi Adeola.

Another shareholder at the meeting, Mr Timothy Adesiyan, who is the former president of Nigeria Shareholders’ Solidarity Association (NSSA), said the performance of the bank was highly commendable in view of the massive improvement in most of the indices, especially in gross earnings, net interest income, liquidity ratio and profit after tax.

He noted that even though the bank is not paying any dividend to shareholders for the year, shareholders are happy with the appreciation in share price and the prospect of higher dividends in future.

Mr Adesiyan also commended the board and executive management of the bank, noting that the good results underscored good corporate governance practice which makes the bank a dependable and solid bank.

Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Asue Ighodalo, while addressing the shareholders, said the 2018 financial results reflected an even stronger business performance despite the impact of an ailing operating environment.

He noted that the bank closed the year with an improved balance sheet position as total assets grew steadily by about 2.9 percent to N1.1 trillion, thereby maintaining the over one trillion Naira mark achieved in the previous year.

“We continued to sustain operational efficiencies and our focus in growing the bank’s retail franchise. This resulted in an improved deposit base and moderate growth in our loan book, specifically riding on the 108.3 percent growth in retail and consumer loans delivered mainly by SPECTA – Nigeria’s fastest digital lending platform,” Mr Ighodalo said.

He added that the bank was able to maintain the cost of funds at 7.4 percent despite high-interest environment which persisted for a significant part of the year.

On the future prospect of the bank, Mr Ighodalo remarked that the Nigerian business environment for 2019 would remain a story of two halves.

Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of the bank for the year ended December 31, 2018 showed that profit after tax rose to N9.2 billion in 2018 as against N8 billion in 2017. Gross earnings had increased by 14 percent from N133.4 billion to N152.2 billion.

The report showed that in line with the bank’s commitment to sectors that will create jobs, improve living standards and bring about economic growth for the country, Sterling Bank increased its financing efforts in the agriculture sector which accounted for about 10 percent of its loan book.

The bank also maintained a healthy capital and liquidity position at 13.3 percent and 42.2 percent respectively on account of additional tier 2 capital injection.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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