By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The chief executive of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc, Mr Segun Agbaje, has attributed the strong performance of the lender in the first half of the year to the quality of the past decisions made by the board and management of the company.
He said this while commenting on the audited financial statements of GTBank released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) last week.
In the period, the bank further strengthened its position as one of the best managed financial institutions in Africa as it closed the half-year ended June 2020 with total assets of N4.511 trillion and shareholders’ funds of N720.9 billion.
The loan book grew by 8.1 per cent from N1.502 trillion recorded as at December 2019 to N1.624 trillion in June 2020 and customer deposits increased by 18.5 per cent to N3.001 trillion from N2.533 trillion in December 2019.
However, the profit before tax reduced by 5.2 per cent to N109.7 billion from N115.8 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.
In terms of asset quality, NPL ratio and Cost of Risk closed at 6.8 per cent and 0.4 per cent in June 2020 from 6.5 per cent and 0.3 per cent in December 2019 respectively.
Overall, asset quality remains stable with adequate coverage of 118.1 per cent, while capital remains strong with CAR of 22.9 per cent.
On the backdrop of this result, Return on Equity (ROAE) and Return on Assets (ROAA) stood at 26.8 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively.
The bank proposed an interim dividend of 30 kobo per ordinary share of 50 kobo each for the period ended June 30, 2020.
“These are undoubtedly tough and trying times for people, businesses and economies the world over. Our financial performance in the first half of the year reflects the quality of our past decisions which have broadened our earnings and strategically positioned us to thrive, thus far, through the current global health and economic crises.
“Underpinning this financial performance is our commitment to being there for our customers and the communities we serve, and over the past six months we have lent the full weight of our franchise to safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of our staff and customers by leading from the front in the fight to curtail the COVID-19 outbreak and offering grace periods on loans to our small business customers,” Mr Agbaje said on the results.
He further stated that, “Going forward, our focus is not just to survive this pandemic, but to thrive beyond it. That is why we are going ahead with our plans to reimagine how we create value for all our stakeholders.
“We know that making financial services work for customers goes beyond banking, and in line with our long-term strategy, we will seek to create and drive innovative financial solutions that go beyond banking.”
GTBank has continued to report the best financial ratios for a financial institution in the industry with a Return on Equity (ROE) of 26.8 per cent and cost to income ratio of 43.2 per cent.
Renowned for its forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement, GTBank was recently ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa.
The bank was also awarded the Best Bank in Nigeria by Euromoney Magazine for a record-extending tenth time and the Euromoney Excellence in Leadership Africa Award for its swift reaction in responding to the COVID-19 crisis and for addressing the impact of the pandemic on its customers and communities.
First Bank Reacts to Rumoured ‘Acquisition’ by Otedola
By Dipo Olowookere
One of the news items that has dominated the business space in the past few days is the rumoured takeover of FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Limited, by Mr Femi Otedola, a businessman in the country.
It was reported that he has ‘acquired’ the lender by pumping about N30 billion into the shares of the company at the stock market, making him the single largest shareholder.
This was linked to the recent rise in the trading volume and value of FBN Holdings equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, which has spurred questions from various quarters.
But in a statement issued on Friday, the management of FBNH said it was not aware of the businessman emerging as its new shareholder, though it pointed out this could have happened as its shares are always available for purchase at the market by anybody.
In the notice signed by the company secretary, Seye Kosoko, the bank said once it receives notification from Mr Otedola, it will promptly inform the regulators about it as required.
“The attention of FBN Holdings has been drawn to media reports today, October 2021, purporting that a certain individual has acquired a significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings, therefore making him the majority shareholder of the company.
“As a listed company, shares of FBN Holdings are publicly traded and sale and acquisition of shares are expected in the normal course of business. We operate in a regulated environment, which requires notification of significant shareholding by shareholders to the company, where shares are held in different vehicles, further to which the company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.
“The company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report of such acquisition. FBN Holdings will always notify the appropriate agencies and authorities whenever it receives any notice of significant shareholdings by the shareholders and the company’s registrars,” the disclosure read.
Femi Otedola Quietly Takes Over First Bank
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
There are reports that a billionaire businessman, Mr Femi Otedola, is coming back into the capital market on a big scale a few years after he offloaded his stake in Forte Oil, 75 per cent, which later became Ardova Plc under its new owners.
It is believed that business mogul has pounced on the crisis at FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, which also recently had a board crisis, to take over the company.
According to reports, which is yet to be independently verified by Business Post, Mr Otedola, son of a late Governor of Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola, is now the single majority shareholder of the first generation lender in Nigeria.
He is said to have acquired N30 billion worth of the company’s equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, where the firm is listed.
In recent times, there has been an upward movement in the share price of FBN Holdings at the stock market and this has raised many eyebrows as some investors were asking what was driving the hike.
Mr Otedola is not new to the boardroom and it is believed that his entry into the banking space would cause a disruption and make him rub shoulders with renowned bankers like Mr Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc, Tony Elumelu of United Bank for Africa (UBA), amongst others.
Some months ago, many observers were shocked when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sacked the boards of FBN Holdings and First Bank of Nigeria Limited and it was learnt that the financial institution has been on the life-support of the regulator.
The FBN Holdings board led by businessman, Mr Oba Otudeko was asked to leave and the CBN further ordered the bank to ensure that the debts owed by the directors, including Mr Otudeko, who sits on the board of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, should be recovered.
A few months after this directive, shares of FBN Holdings and Honeywell have enjoyed a significant rise in value, causing people to ask questions.
If the latest information is correct, it would mean that Mr Otedola was likely the reason for the uptick witnessed in First Bank stocks at the exchange lately.
It means he will have a good representation on the board of the lender and turn its fortunes around.
First Bank is yet to officially inform the investing public about this development.
Heritage Bank in Debt Crisis, Reps May Order CBN Takeover
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The banking industry in Nigeria may be plunged into another crisis if urgent steps are not quickly taken to address the issue so as to douse the looming tension.
Business Post reports that a few years ago, precisely in 2018, depositors and shareholders of Skye Bank were in a panic mood after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised the lender to Polaris Bank Limited because of debts and the House of Representatives on Thursday raised an alarm that another financial institution, Heritage Bank, is allegedly swimming in huge debts.
The lower chamber of the National Assembly had invited the bank and its Managing Director, Mr Ifie Sekibo, to explain why the amount the company owes the federal government is more than its share capital, but he has failed to honour the request.
This action has infuriated the parliament, which has threatened to direct the CBN to take over the ownership of Heritage Bank if Mr Sekibo and the bank ignore their latest invite next Wednesday.
Mr Adejoro Adeogun, Chairman of the Adhoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots, Moveable and immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by agencies of the federal government for Effective and Efficient Management and Utilisation, issued this threat at the resumed hearing of the committee yesterday.
“I need to send this message to Heritage Bank that we are not comedians here and we are not joking here. If Heritage Bank owes Nigeria more than its share capital, we will not hesitate to ask the National Assembly to write to CBN to take over Heritage Bank.
“They cannot be owing more than their share capital and feel too big to respond to invitations from the National Assembly. Clerk, you have to write them, give them till Wednesday next week. That is the last time we are going to give them,” an angry Mr Adeogun barked.
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