Zenith Bank headquarters
By Goddy Egene
Zenith Bank Plc has received commendations from some shareholders on its impressive 2011 financial results, saying the performance of the bank has given them cause to be confident of their investments in the banking sector.
Zenith Bank had last Friday reported gross earnings of N244 billion, showing an increase of N26.8 per cent above the N192.49 billion posted in the 2010.
Profit before tax and profit after tax rose by 21 per cent and 18 per cent from N50.03 billion to N60.7 billion and from N37.41 billion to N44.2 billion respectively.
Based on the performance, the board of directors have proposed a dividend of 95 kobo up from 85 kobo, the previous year.
Some shareholders of the bank said it was a heart-warming results, given the challenges the sector had gone through recently.
The President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar, noted: “It is a fantastic performance that should be commended. Despite the difficult environment, Zenith Bank posted higher profit and declared higher dividend. It shows the bank has a good board and management. Some people have thought that with the exit of Jim Ovia, the bank’s performance would decline. But the 2011 results showed that the founding chief executive officer laid a strong foundation and the current management has stuck to the culture and tradition that have made the bank a leader over the years.”
Umar noted that the 95 kobo dividend should be commended, saying that “sooner rather than later, the era of kobo dividend would have no place in the accounts of Zenith Bank.”
In his reaction, the General Secretary, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) Mr. Adebayo Adeleke, said the result would be the benchmark for other banks as it would stimulate pressure on other banks to perform.
“The result is heart-warming because we were not expecting this impressive performance on the face of the banking reforms. The results will stimulate other banks to also perform well and reward shareholders accordingly,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein, the President, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mrs. Bisi Bakare, said the bank should be commended for delivery such an impressive result.
“Generally, expectation of many shareholders on the performance of companies and banks in particular has been moderate given the economic situation in the country. Their businesses in the northern part have been affected by the continual security challenges. And for the banks, the reforms have reduced our expectations. It is therefore commendable to see Zenith Bank posting these improved numbers. The dividend is particularly commendable,” she said.