Afreximbank, Ecobank to Inject $500m into African Trade
By Dipo Olowookere
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), parent company of the Ecobank Group have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to promote joint corporate objectives through the financing of private sector projects and trade finance transactions, focusing particularly on transactions involving trade and investment in Afreximbank member countries where Ecobank also has a presence.
The cooperation between the two institutions will support efforts at promoting intra-African trade, facilitating industrial development and export development, and strengthening African trade finance leadership, with the ultimate goal of transforming the African continent.
Under the agreement, Afreximbank and Ecobank will design joint innovative and tailor-made financial instruments and solutions to support private sector corporates and select strategic public sector institutions, as well as small and medium enterprises or “SMEs.”
This will enable them to participate effectively in the production of value added goods and services in national, regional and continental value chains.
The initiatives envisaged include the creation of a $500 million programme dedicated to financing trade among Afreximbank member countries where Ecobank conducts banking business.
The two institutions will also explore other cooperation in financing trade operations in the form of exports and imports among African countries where Ecobank is present.
These will be operations which are eligible for Afreximbank’s interventions through co-financing, syndication of loans, risk participation or through any other appropriate mode of cooperation.
Ecobank Group CEO Ade Ayeyemi said: “We welcome this win-win collaboration between Ecobank and Afreximbank. It is cooperation that will lead to a more efficient way of channelling trade finance towards supporting growth of intra-African trade and industrialisation.”
“Inadequate access to trade finance remains one of the greatest obstacles to Africa’s economic development,” said Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank. “This collaboration with Ecobank opens up more opportunities for African businesses to access much-needed financing for their trading activities. We are very proud at the opportunity to work with a pan-African financial institution like Ecobank to deliver on our shared goal of enhancing access to trade finance in Africa.”
Afreximbank brings to this partnership solid expertise in financing trade among its member countries.
Ecobank has a full service platform, providing end-to-end trade finance solutions to enterprises in Africa.
Zenith Bank Proposes N2.90 Dividend After Impressive Growth in Gross Earnings
By Dipo Olowookere
The board of Zenith Bank Plc has proposed the payment of N2.90 per share as a final dividend for the 2022 accounting year, bringing the total cash reward to shareholders for the year to N3.20 per share after it earlier paid 30 Kobo as an interim dividend.
The tier-1 bank, in its audited financial statements for 2022 released to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Tuesday, announced the dividend payment amid an impressive double-digit growth of 24 per cent in gross earnings to N945.5 billion from the N765.6 billion reported in 2021 despite the persistent challenging macroeconomic environment and headwinds.
The financial results showed that the surge in gross earnings last year was driven by a 26 per cent year-on-year growth in interest income from N427.6 billion to N540.2 billion and a 23 per cent year-on-year growth in non-interest income from N309 billion to N381 billion.
Also, impairments increased in the year by 107 per cent to N124.2 billion from N59.9 billion, while interest expense rose by 63 per cent to N173.5 billion from N106.8 billion.
It was observed that the increase in impairments, which also resulted in an increase in the cost of risk to 3.3 per cent from 1.9 per cent, was attributed to the impact of Ghana’s sovereign debt restructuring programme. The growth in interest expense increased the cost of funds from 1.5 per cent in 2021 to 1.9 per cent in 2022 due to hikes in interest rates globally.
The continued elevated yield environment positively impacted the bank’s Net-Interest-Margin (NIM), which grew from 6.7 per cent to 7.2 per cent due to an effective repricing of interest-bearing assets.
Operating expenses grew by 17 per cent, though the inflation rate was at 21.91 per cent as of February 2023, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In the year under consideration, the profit before tax recorded a marginal growth of 2 per cent to N284.7 billion from N280.4 billion due to an improvement in all the income lines.
A look at the balance sheet revealed that customer deposits increased last year by 39 per cent to N8.98 trillion from N6.47 trillion in the previous year. This growth in customer deposits came from all products and deposit segments (corporate and retail), thus consolidating the bank’s market leadership and indicating customers’ trust.
Total assets increased by 30 per cent from N9.45 trillion in 2021 to N12.29 trillion, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. With the steady and continued recovery in economic activities, the Group prudently grew its gross loans by 20 per cent from N3.5 trillion in 2021 to N4.1 trillion in 2022, which increased the Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio modestly from 4.2 per cent to 4.3 per cent.
The capital adequacy ratio decreased from 21 per cent to 19 per cent, while the liquidity ratio improved from 71.2 per cent to 75 per cent, with both prudential ratios well above regulatory thresholds.
In 2023, Zenith Bank said it intends to expand its frontiers as it also reorganises into a holding company structure, adding new verticals to its businesses and growing in all its chosen markets, both locally and internationally.
In recognition of its track record of excellent performances, Zenith Bank was recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 13th consecutive year, in the 2022 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020 and 2022; Best Bank in Nigeria, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria 2021 and 2022 in the World Finance Banking Awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards 2022; Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, by the Ethical Boardroom; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards.
Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021 and Retail Bank of the year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.
Similarly, Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Most Innovative Bank of the Year 2019 by Tribune Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2020 by Independent Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.
Sell Pressure on Bellwether Stocks Softens NGX Index by 1.16%
By Dipo Olowookere
It was not a good day for equities on the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Tuesday as profit-taking activities further deepened during the trading session, leading to a 1.16 per cent loss.
The bearish performance was triggered by the losses recorded by some bellwether stocks like Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar, Fidson, and six other mid and low-cap shares.
The trading session saw investors rebalancing their portfolios, and at the close of business, Chams topped the losers’ chart after it dropped 8.00 per cent to sell at 23 Kobo. UAC Nigeria lost 5.76 per cent to finish at N9.00, Dangote Cement shrank by 4.17 per cent to N276.00, Fidson depreciated by 2.95 per cent to N9.55, and Prestige Assurance plunged by 2.44 per cent to 40 Kobo.
The gainers’ table had 16 members yesterday and was led by PZ Cussons, which grew by 9.62 per cent to N11.40. International Energy Insurance gained 9.24 per cent to sell for N1.30, Multiverse rose by 8.72 per cent to N3.24, FTN Cocoa added 7.69 per cent to its value to finish at 28 Kobo, and Regency Alliance chalked up 6.90 per cent to quote at 31 Kobo.
The price movement index analysis showed that investor sentiment was strong despite the setback, as the market breadth was positive.
Business Post reports that the loss reported by the stock exchange was due to the 2.18 per cent decline suffered by the industrial goods sector, as every other sector was bullish.
The consumer goods index appreciated by 1.50 per cent, the insurance counter improved by 0.46 per cent, the banking sector increased by 0.27 per cent, and the energy wing remained flat.
Data from the bourse revealed that the All-Share Index (ASI) was down by 626.14 points yesterday to 53,124.63 points from 53,750.77 points, and the market capitalisation decreased by N341 billion to N28.940 trillion from N29.281 trillion.
As for the activity chart, the trading volume surged by 101.09 per cent to 200.9 million shares from 100.9 million shares, while the trading value declined by 51.16 per cent to N2.1 billion from N4.3 billion, with the number of deals depreciating by 6.34 per cent to 3,071 deals from 3,279 deals.
The significant rise in the volume of transactions was due to buying interests in Transcorp, Fidelity Bank, Custodian Investment, Sterling Bank and GTCO, which sold 61.5 million units, 27.0 million units, 20.0 million units, 18.7 million units, and 11.7 million units, respectively.
Friesland, Geo-Fluids Spur NASD OTC Exchange to Appreciate 1.02%
By Adedapo Adesanya
The NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange appreciated by 1.02 per cent on Tuesday, March 28, following the positive price movements in the stocks of FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria Plc and Geo-Fluids Plc.
Data from the NASD OTC exchange showed that the milk producer gained N5.00 during the session to sell at N81.00 per share compared with the previous day’s value of N76.00 per share, while Geo-Fluids Plc appreciated by 15 Kobo to quote at N1.95 per unit versus N1.80 per unit.
The gains recorded by the duo further raised the market capitalisation of the bourse yesterday by N10.4 billion to N1.03 trillion from the N1.02 trillion it closed in the preceding session.
Following the same trend, the session ended with the market index, NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI), growing by 7.52 points to 743.15 points from the 735.63 points recorded in the previous session.
It was observed that there was a surge in the volume of securities traded at the bourse during the session as investors exchanged 20.1 million units, 4,734.7 per cent higher than the 415,330 units traded in the preceding session.
The value of shares traded on Tuesday equally increased by 67.3 per cent to N44.5 million from N26.6 million, while the number of deals increased by 227.3 per cent to 36 deals from the 11 deals carried out on Monday.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 482.1 million units worth N544.1 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 365.8 units valued at N309.5 million, while Industrial and General Insurance (IGI) Plc was in third place with 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
However, VFD Group Plc was the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis with 7.3 million units valued at N1.7 billion, trailed by Geo-Fluids Plc with 482.1 million units worth N544.1 million, and UBN Property Plc with 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
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