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Access Bank to Pay HY Dividend as Earnings Hit N450.6bn

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herbert wigwe Access Bank

By Dipo Olowookere

Access Bank Plc is paying its shareholders an interim dividend of 30 kobo for the first half of 2021 ended June 30, a notice from the lender has confirmed.

However, the HY dividend is subject to appropriate withholding tax and would be paid on Wednesday, September 29 to shareholders whose names appear on the register of members as at the close of business on Thursday, September 16 and to those who have completed their e-dividend registration and mandated the registrar to pay their dividends directly into their bank accounts.

A look into the performance of the banking institution in HY 2021 showed that its gross earnings expanded to N450.6 billion from N396.8 billion in the same period of 2020.

Business Post observed that the corporate and investment banking arm of the business raked N167.9 billion versus N152.0 billion a year ago, the commercial banking earned N139.4 billion compared with N112.1 billion, the business banking generated N24.8 billion in contrast to N36.9 billion, while the retail segment added N118.6 billion versus N95.8 billion to the total revenue.

In terms of the geographical segments, the largest chunk of the earnings came from its Nigerian operations, raking N353.8 billion, higher than N338.6 billion in the same period of last year.

The lender said in the first six months of this year, its net interest income grew to N200.1 billion from N126.2 billion, while its net interest income after impairment charges rose to N171.4 billion from N109.7 billion.

In the period under consideration, Access Bank said it improved its fee and commission income to N73.7 billion from N51.8 billion as a result of a rise in channels and other e-business income, commission on other financial services, commission on bills and letters of credit, account maintenance charge and handling commission as well as credit-related fees and commissions.

However, its fee and commission expense rose in the same period to N15.0 billion from N11.2 billion, while the net fee and commission income closed at N58.7 billion, higher than N40.6 billion in HY 2020.

In the first half of the year, Access Bank said personnel costs swallowed N43.6 billion compared with N36.3 billion in the same period of 2020 mainly as a result of an increase in wages and salaries to N41.3 billion from N34.1 billion, while other operating expenses jumped to N126.1 billion from N120.7 billion despite a decline in bank charges, administrative expenses, communication expenses, outsourcing costs, advertisements and marketing expenses, recruitment and training, events, charities and sponsorship, security expenses, cash processing and management cost, and office provisions and entertainment costs.

When these costs and others were taken from the earnings, the bank was left with a profit before tax of N97.5 billion, higher than N74.3 billion as at June 30, 2020, while the profit after tax stood at N86.9 billion compared with N61.0 billion, signifying a 42.5 per cent improvement.

In the period, the earnings per share (EPS) grew to N2.48 from N1.73, while the total assets increased year-to-date to N10.1 trillion from N8.7 trillion in FY 2020, with the total liabilities rising year-to-date to N9.3 trillion from N7.9 trillion.

It was observed that deposits from customers in the first months of this year went up to N6.0 trillion from N5.6 trillion as at December 31, 2020, while loans to customers increased to N3.6 trillion from N3.2 trillion.

Dipo Olowookere is a journalist based in Nigeria that has passion for reporting business news stories. At his leisure time, he watches football and supports 3SC of Ibadan. Mr Olowookere can be reached via dipo.olowookere@businesspost.ng

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Economy

Adrian Grenier Joins Panel Discussion about Green Bitcoin

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CoinGeek

United Nations Environment Goodwill Ambassador and actor Adrian Grenier, who starred in Netflix’s Clickbait, HBO’s Entourage and 20th Century Fox’s The Devil Wears Prada, has joined a panel discussion about Bitcoin energy consumption and sustainability at the recently concluded CoinGeek Conference New York.

Grenier is also known as a strong environmental activist who helped launch UN’s Clean Seas campaign in 2017 and co-founded the Lonely Whale Foundation, which aims to increase awareness and educate people about the status of the globe’s oceans and marine life.

Grenier also has an impact fund called DuContra Ventures, where he is a co-founder and the chief experience officer, that is focused on four categories: the betterment of humans, investing in communities, the future of finance (where his interest in blockchain comes in), and sustainable consumer goods. The actor has also invested in Blueland, which produces plastic-free consumer cleaning products.

The presence of a renowned environmentalist at a Bitcoin event is somewhat of irony as Bitcoin has been touted by the media in the past months as unsustainable and not environmentally friendly with the massive amount of energy Bitcoin mining consumes.

“I think people that want to dismiss crypto as being unsustainable don’t fully understand the complexity of the opportunity that crypto has for society across the board. It’s not just about mining efficiency, it’s also about how it’s going to improve every industry,” Grenier said.

Grenier’s presence means that he has finally found a Green Bitcoin he can support in BSV. The BSV blockchain is the largest public blockchain that can scale unlimitedly to accommodate the data the world is generating.

“If you had a crypto technology that could actually track the exchange of goods and services within the community and keep the value very hyper-local, there’s a lot less loss. I mean, when you put your money in a centralized banking system, you’re losing a lot of money, especially with inflation and the printing of money. And suddenly, they’re stealing your little value. But when you have a hyperlocal currency, you know what’s being shared, and you keep it serving your community,” Grenier explained.

Unlike BTC that has no other utility except as a speculative investment due to its price volatility, small data blocks at only 1MB in size and low throughput at seven transactions per second (tps), a 2GB block has already been mined on the BSV blockchain and the network is preparing to increase its throughput to over 50,000 tps at transaction fees of less than a penny, rivalling the capacity of the VISA network. These numbers are what make BSV the Green Bitcoin and what make BTC simply unsustainable.

“I think it’s really going to transform media. In my business, like filmmaking [and] communications, it’s going to empower artists to have exchange directly with consumers, get commercialization out of that relationship unless chosen. Even just the social media networks. Like what’s happening with Facebook, they’re literally selling our data for profit, and we don’t see any of that money. I like to see social media networks that allow both users and content creators to have a more autonomous exchange of value,” Grenier pointed out.

As BSV continues to scale, millions and even billions of tps can be realized in the future. And with this kind of powerful technology, can usher in a fully on-chain world—improving business systems and processes and maximizing profits—much like how the Internet Protocol has created the online life people are enjoying today. This kind of benefit to mankind is what more than justifies the huge energy consumption of BSV mining.

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Economy

Apple Rolls Out New AirPods, MacBooks, Processor

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Apple AirPods

By Adedapo Adesanya

At its virtual MacBook event on Monday, tech giant, Apple, launched the new generation AirPods which will support spatial audio, thanks to new sensors that support features like spatial audio.

The new Airpods sport a new design, closer to the AirPods Pro, but they lack the rubber in-ear tip. The case also charges magnetically using Apple’s magnetic charger MagSafe.

Apple says the third-generation AirPods have more powerful bass than previous models and that the AirPods now have six hours of battery life for listening to audio.

The new AirPods cost $179 (N102,388) and will hit the shelves next week.

Apple launched its first AirPods in 2016 and turned the wireless earphone market on its head.

Apple is the largest AirPods brand as it holds 29 per cent of the market share in the third quarter of 2020, three times that of its closest competitor, Xiaomi.

Also at the event, the company announced new chips, M1 Pro and M1 Max, for new high-end MacBook Pro laptops.

The M1 Max is a more powerful version of the M1 and M1 Pro. It has 57 billion transistors, Apple said, and a 32-core graphics processor, saying that its graphics processor compares favourably to current laptop graphics processors, especially when using less power.

Apple said the new MacBook Pro laptops are completely reimagined as they will come with Apple’s M1 Pro chip, a new processor Apple says has a 10-core processing unit that is 70 per cent faster than its current M1 chip.

The new models have an HDMI port to connect to displays and TVs, an SD card slot for photographers. It also uses a MagSafe magnetic connector, bringing back a beloved feature from older MacBooks.

Users can still charge using the USB-C ports, of which there are three, which support Thunderbolt connections.

It comes in 16-inch and 14-inch sizes with denser screens and ProMotion screens with a higher refresh rate, a feature that landed on the iPhone 13 this year. The displays are using MiniLED technology, the company said.

The new models do not have a Touch Bar touchscreen on the keyboard but have a fingerprint sensor on the power button.

The 14-inch MacBook Pro starts at $1,999 (N1.1 million). The 16-inch model starts at $2,499 (N1.4 million), representing a slight price increase from previous models.

Apple’s $99 (N56,628) smart speaker, HomePod Mini, will also be available in a variety of new colours including orange, yellow, and blue. Previously, it was only available in white and dark grey.

** FX rates were calculated at N572 per Dollar, the black market rates.

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Economy

Fidelity Bank to Issue $500m of 5-year Unsecured Notes

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fidelity bank

By Dipo Olowookere and Adedapo Adesanya

Fidelity Bank Plc has announced its intention to approach the international capital market again for a fresh Eurobond worth $500 million.

A notice to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited signed by the company secretary, Ezinwa Unuigboje, disclosed that the unsecured and unsubordinated notes would carry a maturity of five years and would rank parri passu with all other previous papers sold by the lender.

In the disclosure, Fidelity Bank said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has given its approval for the transaction to go ahead as it “has no objection” to it.

The lender said it was requesting the fresh capital “for general corporate purposes, including supporting its trade finance business” and that after issuing the Eurobond, it would be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange to allow it to be traded on “its regulated market.”

Already, Fidelity Bank commenced the planned investor meetings concerning the notes on Monday, October 18, 2021, though the final decision to issue the papers is “subject to finalising the necessary transaction documentation and prevailing market conditions.”

Business Post reports that this development is coming after the Nigerian government raised $4 billion from the debt market last month. Also, another lender in the country, Access Bank Plc, which is listed on the nation’s stock exchange like Fidelity Bank, raised $500 million from the same market at 6.13 per cent. This sale was oversubscribed by investors because of the strong confidence they have in the bank.

Recall that in 2017, about this month, Fidelity Bank, a tier-two financial institution, issued $500 million Eurobond to investors.

Stocks of the company closed flat at the bourse on Monday at N2.74 each. The bank, since the assumption of office of Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe as the Chief Executive some months ago, has witnessed a rising profile in the Nigerian banking industry.

One of her ambitions is to ensure that the lender attains a tier-one status by 2025. At the moment, only five of the over 20 banks in the country are in the category and they are Zenith Bank, Access Bank, GTCO, UBA and First Bank, altogether known as ZAGUF banks.

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