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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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Nigeria Makes List of Four Top World Bank Debtors

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Rising debt has pushed Nigeria up the World Bank’s top 10 International Development Association borrowers’ list.

The World Bank Fiscal Year 2021 audited financial statements, known as the IDA financial statement, showed that Nigeria was rated fifth on the list with $11.7bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2021.

However, the newly released World Bank Fiscal Year 2022 audited financial statements for IDA showed that Nigeria has moved to the fourth position on the list, with $13bn IDA debt stock as of June 30, 2022.

This shows that Nigeria accumulated about $1.3bn IDA debt within a fiscal year, with the country taking over the fourth top debtor position from Vietnam.

This debt is different from the outstanding loan of $486m from World Bank’s International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

The top five countries on the list slightly reduced their IDA debt stock except Nigeria.

India, which is still the first on the list reduced its IDA debt stock from $22bn in the previous fiscal year to $19.7bn, followed by Bangladesh from $18.1bn to $18bn.

It is followed by Pakistan which cut its debt from $16.4bn to $15.8bn, and lastly, Vietnam, which went down the list to fifth position, from $14.1bn to $12.9bn.

Nigeria has the highest IDA debt in Africa, as the top three IDA borrowers (India, Bangladesh and Pakistan) are from Asia. The World Bank disclosed recently that Nigeria’s debt, which may be considered sustainable for now, is vulnerable and costly.

The bank said, “Nigeria’s debt remains sustainable, albeit vulnerable and costly, especially due to large and growing financing from the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

However, the Washington-based global financial institution added that the country’s debt was also at risk of becoming unsustainable in the event of macro-fiscal shocks.

The bank further expressed concerns over the nation’s cost of debt servicing, which according to it, disrupted public investments and critical service delivery spending.

Economists have also raised concerns over the rising debt profile of the Federal Government.

The Fiscal Policy Partner and Africa Tax Leader of PwC, Mr Taiwo Oyedele, expressed his agreement with the World Bank on the high cost of debt servicing.

He said, “I agree with the World Bank. Although the debt to GDP ratio is not too high, if you think about the debt service cost to revenue ratio, it is already over 70 per cent. That’s when you know it’s costly.

“Nigeria borrows at double-digit, and even when we borrow in dollars, the rates are very high and then you devalue the naira and the cost of servicing the debt in naira goes up because it is dollar-dominated debt.

“Put all of that together, and you can easily say to yourself that even though our debt to GDP ratio is very low, our cost of borrowing is unsustainable because it is very high, and therefore, make it very costly.”

A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and former presidential candidate, Kingsley Moghalu, also criticised the increasing borrowing tendency of the government, urging the officials to re-consider other ways of generating revenue for the country.

According to Moghalu, it was also not reasonable to borrow for infrastructural development as the government could expand the public-private partnership options for such development.

In a document by the Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha, recently obtained by our correspondent, the DMO stated that high debt levels would often lead to high debt services and affect investments in infrastructure.

According to the DMO DG, “High debt levels lead to heavy debt service which reduces resources available for investment in infrastructure and key sectors of the economy.”

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Stanbic IBTC Set to Host 2022 Africa-China Trade Expo

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Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC, a member of Standard Bank Group, would host the 2022 Stanbic IBTC Africa China Trade Expo as part of its efforts at promoting trans-regional trade and development between Nigeria and China. The trade expo would feature a panel discussion, masterclasses on trade, a presentation on the Stanbic IBTC Africa China Trade Solutions and a fully virtual exhibition.

The two-day hybrid conference and exhibition-themed “Synergy For Growth’ is slated for 10 and 11 August 2022, and is geared at providing insights and opportunities for participants. The event would serve as an avenue to showcase Nigerian and Chinese exhibitors, and would as well provide opportunities to build relationships within the trade community.

The physical conference is planned to feature keynote speeches and panel discussions by highly experienced subject matter experts and thought leaders in relevant industries and would be an opportunity for exporters and importers to engage and create a marketplace experience.

Speakers slated for the event include Philip Myburgh, Head, Pan-African China Banking, Standard Bank Group; and Ade Otukomaya, Head, Africa China Banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank. Others are Remy Osuagwu, Executive Director, Business and Commercial Clients, Stanbic IBTC Bank; and Wole Adeniyi, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC.

The panel discussion, with the theme ‘Promoting Export Activities through Synergy’, would have Samuel Oyeyipo, Deputy Director and Regional Coordinator, Nigerian Export Promotion Council, South West Regional Office, Lagos; Luthando Vuda, Head, Africa China Trade in Business and Commercial Clients, Standard Bank Group; Jane He, Business Manager, Pan Africa China Banking, Business and Commercial Clients, Standard Bank Group, Fola Abimbola, Analyst, Senior, Frontier Africa Equity Research Stanbic IBTC; and Victor Ayemere, Chief Executive, Zeenab Foods Limited, Operators of the Nigeria Export Trade House China/Far East Region as panelists.

Dr Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, spoke on the rationale for the conference. He highlighted that the Stanbic IBTC Africa-ChinaTrade Expo hybrid Conference and Exhibition would be geared at showcasing Nigeria and China trade opportunities while emphasizing  the role of Stanbic IBTC in facilitating inter-regional trade.

“China is Africa’s biggest trading partner by far and can foster strong trade routes and economies of scale, offering an incredible opportunity to do more than just import goods. With the emphasis on building strong synergy and relationship between China and Nigeria, the Stanbic IBTC Africa-China Trade Expo is expected to provide insights into Nigeria and China trade relations and the role of Stanbic IBTC as a facilitator of inter-regional trade, as well as provide advisory services, allowing trade partners access and unlock the opportunities in Nigeria-China trade,” Demola said.

“The topics for discourse at the two-day hybrid conference and exhibition would centre on building synergy between Nigeria and China’s economies, building synergy between government agencies and driving export activities through policies and initiatives. Other topics would include building export activities in partnership with Stanbic IBTC and promoting competitive advantage for enhancing export.”

“The exhibition would also showcase vendors who export from Nigeria to China and vice versa, spanning across agriculture, manufacturing, equipment, processing and packaging firms,” Demola added.

The Chief Executive noted that through its Africa China Trade Solution (ACTS) and other networks of relations between Africa and China, the financial service provider continued to facilitate economic trade and development between Africa and the Asian country.

Stanbic IBTC’s trade solutions such as Stanbic IBTC Africa China Trade Solutions (ACTS) continued to enable settlement of international transactions and mitigation of payment risk while providing regional solutions such as issuance of payment guarantees and letters of credit to Nigerian exporters.

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Management Debunks Purported Sale of Polaris Bank  

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The management of Polaris Bank PLC has denied reports making the rounds that the bank is set to be sold.

A statement issued by the bank and sent Pointblank.ng said that the information is speculative and deliberately intended to cause panic, and asked the banking public to disregard the story.

The statement further highlighted the fact that the bank has since stabilised it’s operations following the intervention of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AM ON) as well as improved its balance sheet, customer base and profitability.

Read the statement in full:

Our attention has been drawn to an online report on the purported sale of Polaris Bank Limited. 

This publication is speculative, deliberately intended to create panic and should be disregarded by the banking public.

Stakeholders may recall the regulatory intervention in the erstwhile Skye Bank by the CBN and the subsequent injection of capital via the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) through a bridge bank process, which birthed Polaris Bank in 2018. The bank has since stabilized its operations following the intervention; improving its balance sheet, customer base and profitability.

Whilst the intention has always been to return the bank to private ownership, such a sale would occur following regulatory approvals with formal notification to all relevant stakeholders. The Bank is committed to ensuring timely communication to the public in such an event.

The Board and Management hereby reassure its customers, staff and the general public that Polaris Bank remains a stable, strong and credible financial institution, positioned to deliver sustainable value to all its stakeholders.

Signed
Management

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