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Shareholders Commend FBN, Believe Future is Bright

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The shareholders of FBN Holdings Plc have been assured of brighter future and enhanced dividend at the 7th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos.

Speaking at the meeting in Lagos, Dr Oba Otudeko, FBN Holdings Group Chairman, assured the shareholders that the company had mapped out strategies aimed at ensuring enhanced value creation for the future.

Otudeko said that the board and management would work together to create shareholder value and build strong foundation for the future.

“We are not resting on our laurels, and our renewed approach to synergy and innovation will be major drivers to unlocking earnings potential for our group.

“We believe that our efforts to integrate our offerings and provide end-to-end solutions for our customers will create a competitive advantage in our markets,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Urum Kalu Eke,  Group Managing Director FBN Holdings, said that the company was committed to greater exploits in the future in its drive to deliver value to its shareholders.

” I would like to reiterate our promise to you and the entire market that 2019 represents for us the year of inflection.

“All leading indicators, derived from our numbers, point to the commencement of growth across businesses, markets and indices.

“As we transition to a new strategic planning cycle post-2019, we are confident that the focused execution  of our strategy, investment in future-enabling technologies, development of our talents and our re-engineered processes to repositioning the group for ultimate benefit of the shareholders,” Eke said.

He also commended the shareholders for their unwavering support to the group over the years.

The company for the period under review posted a profit after tax of N59.7 billion compared with N45. 5 billiin achieved in the comparative period of 2017, an increase of 31.4 per cent.

Profit before tax stood at N65. 3 billion against N54.5 billion recorded in 2017, representing a growth of 19.7 per cent.

Gross earnings stood at N583.5 billion compared with N595. 4 billion in 2017, a decrease of two per cent.

Its total assets rose by 6.3 per cent from N5.2 trillion in 2017 to N5.6 trillion during the review period.

Similarly, customers deposits expanded by 10.9 per cent from N3.1 trillion in 2017 to N3.5 trillion in 2018.

The year also recorded reduction in impairment charges which declined to N87. 3 billion from N150.4 billion, representing 42 per cent drop and a proof to the improving loan book of the commercial bank.

He assured the shareholders that the board and management had restructured the entire group for more sustainable growth.

“For liquidity perspective,  you have a strong institution that would pay dividend on a regular basis.

“We have built capital buffet at the commercial bank and the other entities are well capitalised also.

“2019 promises to be a much better year than 2018; all operating entities are in safe hands with good management teams.

“NPL ratio should be at single digit by end of 2019, we will pursue recovery and when it happens the commercial bank will contribute to dividend payment,” he stated.

Eke noted that significant growth in the bottom line was due to several factors including the improved risk management processes which endured that impairment changes dropped year-on-year.

He , also, attributed the growth to implementation of servers cost containment initiatives during the period.

Also speaking, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Chief Executive Officer,  said that recovery efforts on all accounts provisioned were in progress.

Adeduntan said that the bank would ensure that no kobo would be left in the hands of third party, noting that, they bank would work harder to resolve all the legacy NPL.

He said that the number of banking agents had increased to 20,000, adding that the figure processed through  agency banking platform reached N1 trillion as at last week.

The shareholders at the meeting approved a total dividend of N9.3 billion, which translated to 26k per share.

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Price of Cooking Gas Hits N7,000 As NLNG Rues Poor Facilities

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The management of the Nigeria LNG Limited has said that marketers do not have enough infrastructure to take up its Liquefied Petroleum Gas supply.

In an earlier PUNCH report, the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association had said that the major cause of the rising cost of cooking gas was lack of adequate supply.

The marketers claimed that foreign investors underestimated demand in the Nigerian market resulting in marketers venturing into importation of the product.

They advocated that the government should let NLNG supply more gas to the market to reduce the costs.

Reports from consumers revealed that the cost of refilling a 12.5-kilogramme cylinder of LPG had risen to as high as N7000 in some states.

The marketers had also urged the government to remove cooking gas from the list of commodities subject to the payment of value added tax.

The marketing manager of NLNG, Austin Ogbogbo, in a response to the claim made by the IPMAN said that the marketers did not have enough infrastructure to take up the gas the company supplied.

He said, “NLNG has grown its capacity from 50,000 metric tonnes per annum to 450,000 metric tonnes per annum of LPG in the past 14 years.

“Nigeria needs 1.2 million metric tonnes per annum, but even the 450,000 we produce cannot be absorbed by the market’s current infrastructure.

“We only operate in the midstream sub sector of the industry so we are only responsible for supplying to the market.

“The downstream players are responsible for the distribution to the end users, and also building the infrastructure to ensure it is done efficiently. It is out of our scope.”

He assured the public that the company would grow its LPG capacity if it confirmed that distributors could take up additional supply.

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FirstBank Expands International Money Transfer Network, Reinforces Commitment to Customer Service

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In furtherance of the need to expand diaspora remittance inflow into the country, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has increased its network of International Money Transfer Operators (IMTOs), targeted at easing the accessibility of its customers to receive money from close to 100 countries across the world in a safe and secured manner. With over 750 branches across the country, customers can receive money from the nearest FirstBank branch closest to them.

Over the years, FirstBank has been in partnership with Western UnionMoneyGram, Ria, Transfast, and WorldRemit. The bank is also in partnership with other IMTOs which include Wari, Smallworld, Sendwave, Flutherwave, Funtech, Thunes and Venture Garden Group to promote remittance inflow into the country, thereby putting Nigerians and residents at an advantage in receiving money from their families, friends and loved ones across the world.

Beneficiaries can receive remittance in US dollars in any of our over 750 branches spread across the country. Customers without an existing domiciliary account can have dollar account automatically created for their remittances. You can also receive inflow directly into your account through Western Union.

In addition, FirstBank has launched its wholly owned remittance platform named First Global Transfer product to promote the international transfer of funds across its subsidiaries in sub-Saharan Africa. These subsidiaries include FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Sierra-Leone, FBNBank Senegal.

Reiterating the Bank’s resolve in promoting diaspora remittances, regardless of where one is across the globe, the Deputy Managing Director, Mr Gbenga Shobo said “at FirstBank, expanding our network of International Money Transfer Operators is in recognition of the significant roles diaspora remittances play in driving economic growth such as helping recipients meet basic needs, fund cash and non-cash investments, finance education, foster new businesses and debt servicing.

We are excited about these partnerships, as it is essential to ensure our customers are at an advantage to receive money from their loved ones and business associates, anywhere they are, across the world.”

FirstBank pioneered international funds transfer and remittances over 25 years ago and has been at the forefront of promoting cross border payments in the country, having started the journey with Western Union Money Transfer. The Bank’s wealth of experience and operation in over 750 locations nationwide gives it the edge in the market.

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Unity Bank Collaborate to Fund N15.5bn Equipment for Julius Berger

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Unity Bank Plc, in company of other banks has facilitated a credit facility of N15.5bn for the acquisition of trucks and equipment to Julius Berger Plc.

The group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SCOA Nigeria Plc, Dr Massad Boulos, has appreciated the gesture.

A statement from SCOA said that SCOA presented 33 MAN platform trucks and equipment to Julius Berger to be deployed for the construction of the 380 kilometre Abuja-Kaduna-Kano roads.

The banks that funded the acquisition were Unity Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Limited, Zenith Bank Plc, Providus Bank Limited, Wema Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa Plc, Union Bank Plc and Coronation Merchant Bank Limited.

Boulos said, “I commend Unity Bank, their MD and the members of the executive management; and the entire team of banks who have worked closely with us on this project.”

Mr Ralph Brendicke, the representative of the MD of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, Dr Lars Richter, said the trucks and other equipment would help the company expand its field capacity and increase the speed of execution leading to timely completion of the highly anticipated project.

The MD/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs Tomi Somefun, represented by the Directorate Head, Lagos and South West Zone, Mr Wale Ogunride, was quoted as saying, “We looked at the strategic importance of this project and how such infrastructure could contribute to stimulating economic activity and decided that Unity Bank must play its part.

“Unity Bank will continue to provide support to such projects as we have been doing in other critical sectors of the economy such as agriculture.”

In a separate statement, the Executive Director of Wema Bank, Mr Oluwole Ajimisinmi, was quoted as saying that his bank was delighted to be one of the institutions to support SCOA in the project.

He also encouraged and solicited for more local content in order to create more jobs.

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