Shareholders of Pan-African Financial Institution, United Bank for Africa Plc unanimously applauded the consistent strong performance of the Group, as reflected in the impressive growth in deposits and broader balance sheet. More importantly, the shareholders lauded the Management and Board for the total dividend of N29.9billion paid from the 2018 financial year profits, even as the Group proactively retains earnings for probable implementation of BASEL III in the near term.
The Group was also commended for his strides in the larger African continent, as it continues to deepen financial inclusion in those countries, with corresponding positive contribution to the Group. The foreign operations contributed 40% of the Group’s earnings, with a strong outlook to further gain market share across all the 19 other African countries, where it operates.
The shareholders, who expressed their appreciation during the Group’s 57th Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Tuesday, praised the Staff, Management and the Board, over the proposed dividend, following the impressive performance.
The President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Dr Faruk Umar, lauded the Management for the hard work, tenacity and commitment to the Group’s growth, particularly as he noted that the current Management is fulfilling the vision of the founders and past leaders of UBA in creating a truly Pan-African Bank. He noted that the feat that UBA has achieved on the African continent would be difficult for any other bank of Nigerian origin to replicate.
He said, “I want to specially commend the Management of UBA under the leadership of the Group Managing Director/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka, for a selfless commitment and hard-work towards building an enduring institution that we and future generations can be proud of. More so, I am impressed by the tenacity of this management in delivering on the vision of shareholders to create a leading and dominant pan-African financial service institution with global reputation and culture. Whilst it may have taken us some time to appreciate the cutting-edge vision of Chairman, Mr Tony Elumelu in expanding our Group’s operation to Africa, we are today excited by the performance and contribution of these operations to our Group’s earnings.”
The Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, also commended UBA for being the first in Africa to embrace Artificial Intelligence technology in the Nigerian banking space, through the introduction of Leo, the Virtual Banker. He said that shareholders who are present at the AGM, who are largely Nigerians are very proud that a bank like UBA with Nigerian origin has successful operations across the continent and even in major global financial centres; United Kingdom, United States and Paris. UBA has shown that Nigeria can make the African continent proud.
Another shareholder and investment analyst, Mr. Nonah Awoh also congratulated the bank on its 70th year celebration, and called for a consolidation of past achievements, noting that UBA has grown to become one of the great institutions in Africa and thus Management must continue to work hard to sustain the rich heritage and legacy.
Addressing shareholders earlier at the event, the Group Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, congratulated shareholders over the upgrade of operations in the United Kingdom and formal opening of the Mali business, adding that the team in both countries are set to change the narrative of banking, and would thus strengthen the earnings growth trajectory of the Group, through their respective positive contribution.
He said, “We are optimistic about the policy environment in most African economies, where we operate, as we expect diligent implementation of fiscal policies to help stimulate inclusive economic growth, ease macro pressures and lower the cost of doing business. I am very optimistic that we will sustain the strong growth trajectory, as we continue to gain market share across Africa, leveraging our core values of Enterprise, Excellence and Execution,” Elumelu said.
In spite of slow recovery in economic activities in Nigeria, the bank’s single largest market, the Group’s total assets grew by 19.7%, driven largely by a strong deposit growth of 24%, as the drive for retail deposits continues to yield desired results. “Leveraging on enhanced customer service, the Group grew retail deposits by 48%, thus strengthening the funding base and providing the foundation for lower cost of funds in 2019.”
In the result for the year end December 2018, UBA’s gross earnings grew by 7.0 percent to N494.0 billion, compared to N461.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017. The Bank’s total assets also grew significantly by 19.7 percent to an unprecedented N4.9 trillion for the year under review.
On his part, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, promised shareholders that the team remained poised to do more in the coming year. While speaking on the strength of the financial institution, Uzoka noted that UBA Group has one of the highest capital adequacy ratio in the industry, as its BASEL II CAR stands at 24% as at December 31, 2018, thus reinforcing its capacity to support customers at all times and demonstrating the Group’s capacity to grow over the medium term. He said, “We are on a new cost optimisation journey and we are diligent in executing far-reaching cost-efficient initiatives, which will complement our revenue growth drive in moderating the cost-to-income ratio towards our desired target. Ultimately, we look forward to delivering superior returns to shareholders in the years ahead.
He explained that the bank has the strong financial capacity backed by high capitalization (BASEL II capital ratio well above requirement) and strong liquidity, adding, “We have worked hard towards connecting Africa and the world through our presence in key African markets and major global financial centres such as New York, London and Paris. We are now well positioned to extract the immense synergy opportunities within our Group, with the ultimate objective of creating superior and sustainable wealth to shareholders.