COMFORT EKELEME, Asst Business Editor
National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders of Nigeria (PSAN) Boniface Okezie has lauded management of Access Bank Plc over the bank’s post merger results, saying is a clear indication that the management of the bank did their home work very well and have mapped out strategies to give good returns on investment to investors who are existing shareholders of Access and Diamond Bank.
Access Bank recently declared N74.1billion Profit Before Tax (PBT), 25k interim dividend in Half year 2019. The Group’s audited first half results released on the floor of Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), showed gross earnings of N324.4 billion, up 28 per cent from N253.0 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.
The bank said, growth in gross earnings was driven by 46 per cent increase in interest income on the back of continued growth in the Bank’s core business and 22 per cent non-interest income underlined by strong recoveries.
Access Bank’s PBT of N74.1 billion, a 62 per cent increase from N45.8 billion recorded during the same period in 2018. Profit After Tax (PAT) grew by a similar margin from N39.6 billion in 2018 to N63.01 billion in half year 2019.
Speaking with Daily Champion, Okezie maintained that with the post merger results, shareholders of the banks will not lose anything, adding that the management of the bank is on top of the game.
He said, looking at the Access Bank, a bigger merger with Diamond Bank, plus the merger they had before, that has made Access today to be the number one bank in the country, in size, in balance sheet, shareholders and customer base.
“I believe that with this kind of leverage, Access has today assembled technocrats to manage the institution, people who know how to drive business and get results, including non performing loans.
“This post merger result we have seen after the merger of few months shows clearly that before the merger, the management of the bank did their home work very well and have mapped out strategies to give good results to investors who are existing shareholders of Access and Diamond Bank.
“Considering the hostile environment and unfriendly policies, the bank is able to wither the storms and give this good results, I think the sky is not only their limit, they are going beyond that. We expect good returns in terms of dividends. This is a post merger results, some may fault the results, they are just coming out from the merger, we need to give them time to consolidate on the gains. I believe by the end of this year, barring any unforeseen circumstance, we are going see a bigger returns on our investments, even in capital appreciation which is the ultimate.
“If we don’t reap in terms of dividends payout, we can reap in terms of capital appreciation of the equities ranking higher, catching up with the likes of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), the Stanbic IBTC which is not even rewarding and getting high price at the stock exchange,” he said.
Speaking further, he maintained that Access has also replicated their strength in terms of positioning in African continent and beyond, I believe that given an enabling environment, Nigerian banks will do well. With this post merger results, people have known that their monies was not misplaced.
“But my advice is that the result should not get into the head, they should continue to do what they are doing, and they should not let the euphoria of humans come into their heads making them loose focus. They must remain focused. Access bank has seen what many have not seen. Shareholders are in for a better thing
“Few institutions in Nigeria have shown clear leadership, I believe that Access will make Nigeria proud in the landscape of banking industry. Government alone cannot create jobs, they are not even creating jobs, giving the enabling environment, the private sector has all it takes to create jobs, he maintained.
Access Bank posted 34 per cent growth in Operating Income to N202.3 billion from N151.4 billion in 2018. Total Asset was up 31 per cent at ₦6.48trillion as at June 2019 in comparison to ₦4.95 trillion in December 2018.
Access Bank’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) remained solid at 20.8 per cent, well above the regulatory minimum.
Commenting on the result, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Herbert Wigwe said, “Access Bank’s performance in the first half of the year reflects a sustainable business model coupled with effective execution as we make solid gains towards the achievement of our strategic goals.
Following the release of the half year results, the Bank also declared an interim dividend of 25k to its shareholders.
“Our focus on retail gained momentum during the period, as continued investments in our channels platform resulted in a 29per cent contribution to gross fee and commission income, up 92pwe cent from the corresponding period in 2018. The strong retail contribution demonstrates the effectiveness of our continued drive around low-cost deposits, on the back of an innovative digital platform.
“Asset quality improved as guided, to 6.4per cent on the bank of a robust risk management approach. This is expected to trend into the future as we strive to hit and surpass the standard we had built in the industry prior to the merger. Similarly, liquidity ratio improved year on year to 49.7per cent, reflecting deliberate steps to optimize our balance sheet in order to ensure the group’s liquidity position remains robust.” Wigwe added.
“Going into the second half of the year, our focus is on consolidating momentum and driving access to financial inclusion through our various agency initiatives. Additionally, we will remain disciplined in our efforts to deliver enhanced shareholder value, as we continue to realize the synergies from our newly expanded franchise” he noted.
For a better society