By Dipo Olowookere
Ecobank started the 2021 financial year strong with a 24 per cent growth in profit after tax, according to the first-quarter results released to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited on Monday.
In the analysis of the financial statements by Business Post, the bank recorded a net profit of N30.5 billion compared with N24.7 billion it achieved in the same period of last year.
Also, its pre-tax profit went up by 22 per cent to N40.3 billion from N33.0 billion in Q1 2020, while the earnings per share (EPS) grew to 84 kobo from 71 kobo.
The unaudited results for the period ended March 31, 2021, further showed that the gross earnings rose to N214.3 billion from N194.9 billion, while the revenue went up to N164.6 billion from N143.7 billion.
Further analysis indicated that interest income improved in the period by 12 per cent to N139.1 billion from N124.5 billion as a result of significant earnings from investment in securities as it raked in N42.2 billion for the bank compared with N28.5 billion in the corresponding quarter of 2020, with interest expense down to N43.8 billion from N47.9 billion.
Also, the non-interest revenue of the lender improved in the period under review to N69.3 billion from N67.1 billion, while the fee and commission income closed at N45.6 billion as against N38.5 billion, with the net trading income down by 12 per cent to N25.8 billion from N29.4 billion.
The staff expenses of Ecobank was flat at N43 billion in the first quarter of the year, while the operating expenses jumped to 97.6 billion from N94.9 billion, with the operating income closing at N164.6 billion in contrast to N143.7 billion in the same period of last year.
In the results, it was observed that customer deposits slightly increased to N7.4 trillion in Q1 2021 from N7.3 trillion in the full year of 2020, while the loans and advances to customers reduced to N3.6 trillion from N3.7 trillion in FY 2020.
Analysts have linked this remarkable improvement in the bank’s financials despite global economic challenges to its digital platform and innovative products and services.
“We are focusing on achieving execution momentum in our payment business, the sustained reliability of all our platforms, driving increased adoption of our products and services, bringing our NPL ratio low and exceeding the expectations of our customers to truly be the pan-African bank that Africa trusts,” the CEO of Ecobank Group, Mr Ade Ayeyemi, stated.
“These, together with all our investments and achievements to date, will enable us collectively grow revenues and generate a long-term return of capital to our shareholders, despite the near- term challenges from COVID-19,” he added.
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