Nigeria’s retail lender, Unity Bank Plc has declared half-year result posting gross earnings of 23.6 billion Naira, which is a 3% increase compared with the corresponding period of 2020.
A review of the unaudited half year result (H1’2021) released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Agric-focused lender showed notable improvement across key financial matrices. The Bank grew bottom-line by 34% as Profit before Tax (PBT) moved up significantly in positive territory to close at N1.50 billion from N1.12 billion recorded in H2 2020.
Similarly, the Profit After Tax, PAT closed at N1.38 billion within the period under review from N1.03 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020, a sign of a stronger recovery in the overall economy and the Bank’s key focus market segment after a disruptive pandemic year.
A major highlight of the result is the growth in the Bank’s loan book, which saw a 22% increase to N246.90 billion within the period compared to N202.08 billion recorded in H2 2020.
The lender also sustained growth trajectory in its assets as total assets for the period rose by 11% to N547.37 billion from N492.02 billion as of December 31, 2020.
Other highlights of the financial statement include a 21% jump in fee and commission income to N3.07 billion from N2.54 billion in the corresponding period of 2020; and N9.87 billion upticks in net interest incomes, representing a 9% increase from the N9.06 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
Interest and similar income also rose though recording a marginal 2% growth to close at N20.27 billion compared to the N19.79 billion recorded in half-year 2020. Earnings per share rose by 3 kobo to close at 11.82 Kobo within the period compared to 8.82 Kobo recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.
The financial report also contained the details of the three months to June 2021 (Q2 2021) report showed that the Bank recorded a 17% leap in gross income to N12.32 billion from N10.50 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
Pre-tax profit for the period closed at N718.0 million, a 31% increased from N546.35 million recorded in Q2 2020, while Profit After Tax equally closed at N660.57 million from N502.65 million recorded in the corresponding review period.
Commenting on the result, the Managing Director/CEO, Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun noted encouraging trends in key performance indicators driving the numbers reported in the H1 result, in that the Bank is beginning to reflect greater consistency, steady outlook and resilience that places it on a performance pedestal ahead of the volatilities in the operating environment occasioned partly by the prevailing global pandemic and other market shocks that have far-reaching implications in the local and foreign economies.
The double digits growth recorded in both earnings and profits, she further added, was the result of a portfolio plan which the Bank set out in the beginning of the year to diversify its portfolio whilst incrementally pursuing asset creation in petrochemical downstream, consumer, healthcare and general commerce with agribusiness providing the bulwark for identified business and brand benefits.
She stated that the Bank will be looking to strengthen its balance sheet from the liability side as it continues to grow its brand franchise in many areas of the retail market by promoting and leveraging its Agriculture value chain businesses as an offshoot to achieve better performance ratios that enable it expand the scope of business for even greater outcome.
Analysts share the optimism on the growth trajectory achieved on the back of contributions from diverse portfolio investments which is a radical departure from the past.
Fitch Upgrades Fidelity Bank’s Issuer Default Rating from ‘B-’ to ‘B’
Fitch Ratings has upgraded Fidelity Bank Plc’s long-term issuer default rating (IDR) from ‘B-’ to ‘B’, reflecting the bank’s increased creditworthiness. The rating agency also upgraded Fidelity’s National Long-Term Rating to ‘A(nga)’ from ‘BBB+(nga)’.
According to the global rating agency, the upgrade is a result of the Bank’s improving business profile and resilient financial metrics. The agency added that the improved rating reflected the bank’s increased creditworthiness relative to other issuers in Nigeria, emphasizing that, “Fidelity’s Long- and Short-Term IDRs are driven by its standalone creditworthiness, as expressed by its Viability Rating (VR) of ‘b’ ’’.
The agency further stated that the VR reflects healthy asset quality, good business profile and reasonable capitalisation and liquidity. These are balanced against high sensitivity to Nigeria’s challenging operating environment as well as higher credit concentration as a percentage of equity and weaker profitability than larger domestic-rated peers.
Commenting on the upgraded rating, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Managing Director/CEO, Fidelity Bank Plc, stated, “Receiving this upgrade at a time when the global economy is faced with a myriad of challenges, speaks to the strength of our business model, the efficacy of our risk management culture and the commitment of our staff towards creating sustainable value for all stakeholders. As a bank, we will continue to execute our growth strategy in a prudent manner that allows us to take advantage of emerging opportunities in our various markets”.
Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 6.5 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best SME Bank Nigeria 2022 by the Global Banking & Finance Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.
Unity Bank Corpreneurship Challenge: Delta, Rivers Corps Members to Benefit from N10m Business Grant
Unity Bank’s flagship Entrepreneurial Development Initiative, Corpreneurship Challenge, is set to return for the 8th edition across 10 locations in Nigeria, including a debut in Delta and Rivers States.
The Retail lender kick-started the Corpreneurship Challenge scheme in 2019, with a launch in Lagos and in three other states, which included Edo, Ogun, and Abuja, but with the increasing traction of the initiative among corps entrepreneurs, the Bank has now expanded the programme to 10 states across the federation.
The first expanded edition covered Lagos, Ogun, Abuja, Edo, Katsina, Enugu, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom, Sokoto, Kano and Kaduna. This edition will hold for the first time in Rivers and Delta as well as making a return to Sokoto, Edo, Abuja, Akwa-Ibom, Osun, Kano, Bayelsa and Enugu.
The Corpreneurship Challenge, which has earned the Bank a national recognition for its impact on youth empowerment and job creation, has continued to elicit growing interest among the corps members, attracting over 2000 applicants and participation in every edition.
In partnership with the NYSC Skill Acquisition and Entrepreneurship Development (SAED), the initiative prominently features a business pitch presentation that provides the participants with the opportunity to present their business plans and stand a chance to win up to N500, 000 cash in the business grant.
Previous editions saw participants pitching business plans from several sectors including software solutions, fashion, fish production, poultry farming, bee farming, retail chains, and piggery to beverages which were assessed based on originality, marketability, and future employability potential of the product and knowledge of the business.
So far, Unity Bank has invested over N100 million in the initiative which has now produced 58 winners since it was launched.
IPMAN Warns Members Against Selling PMS Above N165/Litre
The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria on Wednesday warned members of the association not to dispense Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, above the approved N165/litre pump price.
IPMAN in conjunction with the Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products gave the warning in Abuja following reports that many retail outlets had adjusted the price in their various pumps upwards above the government-regulated rate.
The factional National President, IPMAN, Chinedu Okoronkwo, admitted that members of the association had called for a hike in petrol price, but noted that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited had released enough petrol.
He said, “Our members in Lagos were getting the fuel at N170 – N173/litre, that’s why they wanted price increased. It is only the NNPC that is importing the product. The cost of doing business has changed, so it becomes difficult to sell at N165/litre.
“That is why we are thanking the NNPC for bringing the product to N143/litre. So, our members must sell the product at N165 which is the government-approved price.”
Okoronkwo further revealed that IPMAN and its partner had engaged the services of Benham Group to recover money owed them for the supply of petroleum products.
“Our business requires technology, that is why we brought a seasoned financial expert and we’ve been able to recover a lot of funds in other countries and Nigeria,” he said.
The IPMAN official added, “The incessant mishaps and destruction of trucks on the road, banditry and kidnapping is the reason we are bringing the insurance company to help us. Leaving the risk for the owner of the truck to bear will affect our businesses.”
On his part, the National President, Association of Distributors and Transporters of Petroleum Products in Nigeria, Mohammed Danzaki, said the NNPC had done a lot to import the product, “but the main issue is the transportation.”
He added, “We have not been getting our payments. That is why we engaged a financial expert, Benham Group, to recoup our money for Nigerians to get regular supplies in the fuel stations.”
The Chairman, Benham Group, Maurice Ibe, said the collaboration was to ensure stabilisation of fuel supply at the filling stations.