Sterling Bank Logo.
By Goddy Egene
Chairman of Sterling Bank Plc, Alhaji Sulaiman Adegunwa, has assured shareholders of the bank that the benefits from the recent acquisition of Equitorial Trust Bank and the consolidation and focus of the bank on core commercial banking would lead to growth in the years ahead and fetch them higher returns.
Speaking at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank in Lagos on Tuesday, Adegunwa said having recorded an improved performance for 2011 financial year, Sterling Bank had entered the new business year in a position of strength anchored on unbroken leadership continuity, sound governance structure, adequate liquidity, a thicker capital cushion, a well-advanced effective integration programme and a wider national coverage.
“I can assure you that all hands are on deck to ensure a sustainable and profitable future for our bank. In doing so, we are guided by a number of founding principles. First, a deeply held and unwavering focus on our role as prudent, trusted custodians of financial security; second, a thorough-going discipline on long-term shareholder value creation, irrespective of the turbulence of market cycles; and third, a vision of constant regeneration to grow the bank to become more relevant, market-driven and customer-centric,” he said.
Reviewing the financial performance , Adegunwa said Sterling Bank ended 2011 with gross earnings of N45.173 billion, up by 49 per cent from N30.386 billion in 2010.
Operating income, he added, also grew by 32 per cent to N27.0 billion in 2011 compared with N20.4 billion in 2010. Profit after tax and extra-ordinary income thus jumped by 60 per cent to N6.7 billion in 2011 as against N4.2 billion in 2010.
The directors recommended a dividend of N1.6 billion as cash dividends for the 2011 business year, which was approved by the shareholders at the meeting. The shareholders said the performance of the bank was a reflection of the farsightedness and commitment of the board and management to shareholder value creation.
President, Association for the Advancement of Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar, said the performance of Sterling Bank amidst the challenges in the operating environment reinforced shareholders’ optimism that the bank would continue to grow.
National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, said the performance of the bank was a reflection of the growth strategy being implemented by the management.
“It gladdens my heart that the management is working to achieve our bank’s corporate goals,” Nwosu said.
Another shareholder, Mr. Nonah Awoh, said the significant increase in the deposit base of the bank provides further opportunity for growth urging the bank to maintain its historic core competence in corporate banking.