Herbert Wigwe
Herbert Wigwe

BY EMEKA EJERE

Nigeria’s largest bank by asset, Access Bank in its audited H1 2021 showed 1.2 percent increase in profit before tax (PBT) to N97.5billion as against N74.31billion reported in prior H1 2020 result and accounts.

The bank also recorded total assets of N10.06 trillion for the half year ended June 30, 2021 as against N8.68 trillion reported in full year ended December 31, 2020 indicating 16 per cent increase.

The impressive increase in total assets was driven by 11.3 per cent growth in Loans and advances to customers to N3.99 trillion as at June 30, 2021 from N3.6trillion reported in 2020, while Deposits from customers appreciated by nearly seven per cent to N5.97trillion as at June 30, 2021 from N5.58trillion reported in 2020.

The lender is stepping up efforts to grow the contribution of its foreign operations to total profit to 30 percent, and has completed at least three acquisitions outside its home market Nigeria so far this year taking its total asset to over N10 trillion.

The Chief Executive Officer, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe in a statement said the pan-African bank recorded a very strong performance in H1 2021, through its unique business model that supported the corporate and retail value chains throughout the African continent and beyond.

“With improving profitability, resilient capital position and a robust, diversified balance sheet, the Group is on track to deliver on its vision to be the World’s Most Respected African bank”, Wigwe said.

“The Group recorded an improvement in gross earnings by 14per cent y/y to N450.6billion (H1 2020: N396.8billion), while the profit before tax saw a significant increase of 31per cent y/y to N97.5billion (H1 2020: N74.3billion). Despite the inflationary environment and increased regulatory costs, our Cost-to-Income Ratio stood at 60.1per cent, a 570-basis point reduction from 65.8per cent in H1 2020.”

With the increase in profit, the Board of Directors proposed interim dividend of 30 Kobo per ordinary share of 50 Kobo each (H1 2020: 25Kobo) on the 35,545,225,622 issued ordinary shares of 50k each, for which it has earmarked a total sum of N10.7 billion.

This is according to a disclosure signed by the company’s secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, and sent to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

The proposed interim dividend of 30 kobo per share is about 20% higher than the amount proposed in the corresponding period of last year (HY 2020: 25 kobo). This increase might be attributed to a much improved financial performance reported by the bank during the just concluded half-year period.

The tier 1 bank revealed that the interim dividends will be paid electronically on the 29th of September, 2021 to qualified shareholders, whose names appear on the Register of Members as at Thursday, 16th of September, 2021.

For qualification, shareholders must have completed the e-dividend registration and mandated the Registrar (United Securities Limited) to pay the Registrar to pay their dividends directly into their bank accounts.

To facilitate the disbursement of the dividends, the bank announced that the Register of its Shareholders will be closed on Friday, 17th of September, 2021.