Despite the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on world economy, United Bank for Africa (UBA) said on Thursday it managed to see its total assets grow by 5.6 percent to an unprecedented N7.7 trillion for the year 2020.
With profits growing by about 27.7 percent to N113.8 billion, the bank proposed a final dividend of 35 kobo for every ordinary share of 50 kobo, in addition to an interim dividend of 17kobo paid earlier in the year. This brings the total dividend to its shareholders for the year to 52 kobo.
Group Chairman of the bank, Tony Elumelu, told shareholders he was optimistic about future earnings prospects of the bank determined to keep its place as the leading pan African financial institution.
Elumelu assured the bank’s shareholders and investors of even greater returns in the coming months, having established a diversified business model that ensures impressive performance even in periods of uncertainty, across its geographical network.
Addressing shareholders at the 59th Annual General Meeting of the Bank at the UBA Head Office in Lagos on Thursday, Elumelu said the bank has made strategic decisions that would strengthen its resolve to earn the industry leadership in Nigeria, Africa and globally.
“We spearheaded strategic investments in our digital banking and technology platforms to further promote self-service banking. We have also focused on enhancing the capabilities of our people through various online capacity development programmes,” Elumelu said.
“Our African operations (ex-Nigeria) have contributed approximately 55 percent of our profits for the year, illustrating that we are truly a pan-African bank.”
He further explained that the bank remains committed to ensuring its viability amid an ever-changing business environment and to continue being a role model for African businesses by showcasing the best of Africa to the world.
“The work we have done in strengthening our governance structures Group-wide and in improving our business and operating models in 2020 positions our bank to benefit from these recovery trends and to achieve significant market share gains across our operations,” he said.
A review of the bank’s performance for 2020 financial year showed its profits grew by 27.7 percent to N113.8 billion, compared to N89.1 billion recorded at the end of the 2019.
Also, it posts an impressive profit before tax of about N131.9billion, compared to N111.3billion at the end of the 2019 financial year.
Gross earnings grew by 10.8 percent to N620.4 billion, compared to N559.8 billion recorded in the same period of 2019.
Impressed by the bank’s performance for the year, shareholders hailed the bank’s decision to plough-back some of its profits into business consolidation.
Most of speakers during the meeting noted the difficult times the world is facing, which they said called for prudent and effective management of financial resources for all businesses.
The Chairman Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association, Sunny Nwosu, who spoke at the meeting, commended the board and management of the bank for keeping up with its activities despite the COVId-19 pandemic and its resultant effect on major businesses.
Whilst advising the bank to gear up efforts to increase dividends in the next financial year, Nwosu praised UBA’s for ensuring that its African subsidiaries performed well by contributing 55 percent to the Group’s business.
Another shareholder, Nonah Awoh, who agreed with the improvement recorded in the bank’s Ex-Nigeria’s subsidiaries, encouraged the management to boost other subsidiaries with the needed resources to help them perform even better in the current financial year.
UBA’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, who responded to shareholders’ comments at the meeting spoke on the reduced dividend pay-out this year, explaining that the bank had decided to be conservative to further strengthen the business.
“As an institution that has been in operations for 72 uninterrupted years, UBA wants to continue to perform optimally. In line with this, we have used most of our funds to prepare for unforeseen challenges. Given the trajectory and the resilience of our business, we can assure you that we will meet and surpass the expectation of our shareholders.
“We have recalibrated our business structure, starting
from Lagos and extending to the South-South. We have bolstered them with the necessary leadership to achieve our aim. We believe that with these measures we have put in place, our Nigerian business will give the rest of Africa a good fight,” Uzoka said.
United Bank for Africa Plc is reputed to be a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than 21million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points. Operating in 20 African countries with presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services