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ZENITH BANK REWARDS SHAREHOLDERS, DECLARES DIVIDEND PAYOUT OF N87.9BN

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Zenith Bank Plc, on Monday, March 16, 2020 held its 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Abuja, Nigeria, during which the Bank’s shareholders unanimously approved the proposed final dividend of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend payment for the 2019 financial year to N2.80 per share with a total value of N87.9 billion. This followed the recent release of the Bank’s audited financial results for the 2019 financial year.

According to the Chairman of the Board, Mr Jim Ovia (CON), the AGM was an opportunity for the bank to engage shareholders on its 2019 financial year performance. In his statement, Mr Jim Ovia said “Zenith Bank is committed to consistently deliver superior returns to our highly esteemed shareholders by ensuring that a good chunk of our profit is set aside for you. In a clear demonstration of this, we had declared and paid you an interim dividend of 30kobo per share in the course of the 2019 financial year. We hereby propose a final dividend of N2.50kobo per share. If approved, this will bring the total dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019, to N2.80kobo per share”.

Zenith Bank reaffirmed its leading position in the Nigerian banking industry posting an impressive Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N243bn, representing a 5 per cent increase over the N231.6bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2018. Profit after Tax (PAT) stood at N208.8bn over N193bn, an increase of 8 per cent, thus making Zenith Bank the first Nigerian bank to cross the 200billion Naira mark.

The bank’s result showed an increase in gross earnings from N662bn to N630bn, indicating dominance in market share, while its assets grew by 5 per cent from the N5.9 trillion to N6.3 trillion, a growth driven by the 29% increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019. The Bank’s fees on electronic products continue to grow significantly with a 108% Year-on-Year (YoY) from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in 2019. 

The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low-interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1% to 3.0%. However, this also affected net interest margin, which reduced from 8.9% to 8.2% in the current year due to re-pricing of interest-bearing assets. Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23.8% and 3.4% respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew 8% from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.

The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22% from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1% and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98% to 4.30%. Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3% and 22.0% respectively.

Financial analysts noted this unprecedented feat by a Nigerian Bank as remarkable, and an indication of strong financial leadership and resilience.

As a testament to this superlative performance, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the recently released Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020”, the Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the Thisday Awards 2020.  In addition, the Bank was also voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co. FacebookTwitterWhatsAppPinterestEmailTumblr

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Disparaging Dangote Uncalled For, Creating Bad Waves For Nigeria – AFDB President, Adesina

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The president of the African Development Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, has spoken out in defence of the Dangote Refinery, addressing concerns about potential monopolistic practices.

In a statement shared by businessman Femi Otedola on Tuesday via X, Adesina expressed his shock at the controversy surrounding Dangote’s operations, warning that it is “creating bad waves for Nigeria globally.”

According to Otedola’s post, Adesina argued that monopolies often arise in industries with high entry barriers or capital costs, citing railways and large-scale refineries as examples.

He was quoted as saying, “Monopoly often exists where there are high barriers to entry or high capital costs. How many individuals or companies can do railways? How many can do refineries of the scale of Dangote Refineries? In a nation that has been importing refined petroleum products for several decades, the abnormal simply became very normal.”

The AfDB President emphasised the significant investment made by Dangote, stating, “No smart investor would make a $19.5 billion investment and want it to be undermined by importers.”

He highlighted manufacturing challenges in Nigeria, describing the business environment as fraught with policy uncertainties and reversals.

“To manufacture is extremely expensive and risky. This is even more so in Nigeria, given the very challenging business and economic environment, fraught with policy uncertainties and policy reversals, and where the self-defeating default mode of “simply import it” is always so easily rationalized and chorused to solve any problem,” he said.

Addressing concerns about anti-competitive practices, Adesina said, “Competition is good for everyone. But is Dangote refineries anti-competitive? What is the evidence? Has Dangote Refineries prevented any other company from setting up refineries? Why have others not done so? How come they have not done so for several decades?

“Was it Dangote that held them back? But Dangote refineries surely cannot be asked to ‘compete’ with importers of petroleum products. That is not competition. Let the importers set up local refineries and compete by refining in Nigeria. That is fair and justified competition.”

Adesina stressed the broader economic implications of the refinery, stating, “We cannot and must not undermine, disparage or kill local industries, talk less of one that is of this scale — a jewel of industrialisation in Nigeria. It is more than simply delivering the cheapest product to the market.

“It is about domestic supply security, driving (and yes, protecting) globally competitive industries, maximising forward and backward linkages in the local economy, job creation, reducing forex expenses and shoring up the Naira. We must not be myopic.

“This whole disparaging of Dangote is uncalled for. It is self-defeating. And it is very bad for Nigeria. Who will want to come and invest in a country that disparages and undermines its own largest investor? Investing is tough. Pettiness is easy. It sadly sends a signal that the price for sacrificing for Nigeria is to get sacrificed.”

 

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BBC To Cut 500 Jobs As It Attempts To Save £200m For ‘Transformation’ Of The Corporation

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The BBC has announced plans to cut 500 jobs as it attempts to save £200 million to drive the “transformation” of the corporation.

Chief operating adviser, Leigh Tavaziva said it is making the changes to improve its premium video offering and digital capabilities.

It comes as the BBC is already attempting to save £500 million as part of a plan announced two years ago.

Tavaziva said “significant activity” is already underway to make the corporation “more flexible”.

She said: “In March this year we announced a requirement for an additional £200 million of savings and reinvestment plans to drive the continued transformation of the BBC.

“This will support greater investment into premium video content and further develop our digital capabilities.”

She added: “To further build our digital capabilities, whilst targeting efficiencies, over the next two years we will continue to close and transfer roles in some areas and create new roles in growth areas.

“This will result in a forecast net reduction of 500 roles in the public service by March 26, with further growth in targeted areas planned in our commercial group.

“To support these changes we will today be launching a new voluntary redundancy scheme for staff.

“Our priority remains to protect and champion the BBC’s fighting role as the UK’s public service broadcaster, for all our audiences both local and global.

“I would like to thank all colleagues for their continued efforts and commitments over the past 12 months.

“I am immensely proud of the exceptional content creativity, delivery, and innovation that our teams both provide and support every day.”

The BBC announced in March 2023 that it was to cut 1,000 hours of TV in order to save money, with half of that coming from sport.

In the same year, the corporation announced it was scrapping its in-house chamber choir, the BBC Singers, and reducing salaried orchestral posts across the BBC English Orchestras by around 20%.

In December 2022 it said that it was making £11m worth of cuts in local radio, which saw its 39 stations required to share content and broadcast less localised content.

Back in 2016, the BBC said it needed to cut £800m worth of costs, with £80m of that coming from news.

The move saw the Andrew Neil Show axed in 2020, along with 450 jobs in English regional TV news and current affairs, local radio and online news.

 

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I Have No Blending Plant Outside Nigeria, NNPC Boss Kyari Replies Dangote

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The Group Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited, Mele Kyari has said he does not own a blending plant outside Nigeria.

Kyari stated this on Tuesday, July 23, while reacting to claims that some officials of the NNPC have blending plants in Malta.

Reacting in a post on his X handle (formerly Twitter), Kyari said he had been inundated with calls from family members and friends, asking if he truly owns a blending plant in Malta.

Kyari stated that he does not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world except a local mini-agricultural venture.

He also said he is not aware of any employee of the NNPC that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“I am inundated by enquiries from family members, friends and associates on the public declaration by the President of Dangote Group that some NNPC workers have established a blending plant in Malta thereby impeding procurements from local production of Petroleum products.

“To clarify the allegations regarding the blending plant, I do not own or operate any business directly or by proxy anywhere in the world with the exception of a local mini Agric venture, neither am I aware of any employee of the NNPC, that owns or operates a blending plant in Malta or anywhere else in the world.

“A blending plant in Malta or any part of the world has no influence over NNPC’s business operations and strategic actions.”

The NNPC boss threatened to sanction any official of the NNPC involved in such acts if they truly exist.

 

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