Shareholders of United Bank for Africa (UBA) commended the bank for its strong financial performance in 2015 despite the difficult operating environment globally.
This was during the bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the Eko Atlantic Hotel, Lagos on Friday, April 8.
The shareholders also approved the board’s recommendation to pay a final dividend of 40 kobo per share. UBA had earlier paid an interim dividend of 20 kobo in September 2015 bringing the total dividend paid in respect of its 2015 financial year to 60 kobo per share.
Speaking on behalf of shareholders, President of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, expressed his appreciation to the bank’s board and management for growing profit and increasing dividend payment at a time when many other banks recorded lower profit and had to cut dividends.
“This dividend payment reinforces the resilience of the Bank amidst challenging operating environment and it also shows the quality of the bank’s management,” he said.
Earlier, Chairman, UBA Plc, Tony Elumelu, told shareholders that the strong performance in 2015 reflects efficiency gains, prudence and best practice in risk management.
Elumelu said: “We recorded N315 billion in gross earnings, a 10% growth when compared to 2014 earnings. This was achieved in spite of relatively weak liquidity in the Nigerian foreign exchange market, which reduced foreign currency related business and income lines. Our Bank offset the macroeconomic challenges with improved customer service and balance sheet efficiency”.
He further told shareholders that the bank successfully managed its costs throughout the year, “thus preserving earnings to deliver a profit before tax of N68.5 billion, which translates to 22% growth over our performance in 2014”.
Looking into the future, Elumelu warned that developments in financial technology is changing the game in the financial industry, lowering operating costs and broad customer reach and becoming major disruptors within the banking industry.
However, he gave the assurance that UBA is a part of the leading technology change agents, and thus well positioned to benefit from the brave new world offered by advancements in technology. He stressed that leading new technology and innovation is a part of the UBA Group’s DNA.
Also speaking, Group Managing Director and CEO, UBA Plc, Phillips Oduoza, explained that management rigorously identified and eliminated fats in the system, improved on contract negotiations, eliminated overlapping functions and structures and continued to leverage technology in its operations, particularly in servicing its over 8 million customers through low cost service channels, which ensured it delivered improved performance to shareholders.
On the bank’s operations in Africa, Deputy Managing Director, Kennedy Uzoka, assured shareholders that UBA’s African subsidiaries are growing stronger and the group has a target to increase Africa’s contribution to the Group’s profit to over 25% in 2016 from 24% in 2015, without undermining the positive outlook on Nigeria, where he expects to see positive growth from imminent implementation of the 2016 budget.
Uzoka said that UBA market share is increasing in most of its target markets, as it grows loans and deposits in double digits across most of its operations in Africa.