By Chinyere Joel-Nwokeoma
Shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc have commended the board and management for enhanced profitability achieved in 2019 financial year.
The bank, in a statement, said the shareholders gave the commendation at its first ever virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday in Lagos.
It noted that shareholders’ attendance at the AGM was by proxy, in keeping with physical distancing measures put in place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Mrs Beatrice Hamza Bassey, the bank’s Chairman, was quoted in the statement as saying that 2019 was a very impressive year.
Bassey highlighted some of the bank’s key achievements in 2019 as the launch of alpher, the bank’s proposition for women, and the introduction of digital loan offerings.
She said that the issuance of a fully subscribed Tier-2 N30 billion bond and the board’s recommendation of a dividend payment to its shareholders owing to its overall strong performance were also major achievements of 2019.
“On behalf of the board, I am pleased to inform our shareholders that we have recommended a dividend payment for the first time in over a decade.
“We remain committed to delivering high-quality earnings to our shareholders, and I am pleased to announce we were able to deliver this in 2019, despite the challenging operating environment.
“We remain focused on delivering value to our shareholders as we continue to drive growth and profitability of our business towards sustaining this trend,” she said.
Commenting on the bank’s performance in 2019 and plans for 2020, Mr Emeka Emuwa, its Chief Executive Officer, said it emphasised revenue productivity and efficiency across board.
“In 2019, we continued to emphasise revenue productivity and efficiency across all facets of our business.
“We were focused on further leveraging the platform (people, technology, brand and infrastructure) we have steadily built over the years to drive sustainable growth in earnings and profitability.
“Our efforts yielded positive results as we witnessed major feats across all our priority areas.
“We remain committed to delivering improved profitability and higher returns in 2020 and beyond.
“Returning value to our shareholders has been at the core of Union Bank’s transformation and continuous drive to become a leading financial institution in Nigeria.
“Notwithstanding the tough operating environment, we remain focused on our strategy and ambition as we strive towards achieving our ambition to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted banking partner,” Emuwa said.
The shareholders at the AGM approved the recommended dividend of 25k per 50k ordinary share.
Major highlights of the bank’s financial performance in 2019 show that profit before tax grew by 33 per cent to ₦24.7 billion from ₦18.7 billion in 2018.
Gross earnings grew by 14 per cent to N159.9 billion from N140.1 billion in 2018.
Customer deposits also increased by five percent to ₦ 886.3 billion compared with ₦844.4 billion in 2018. (NAN)