United Bank for Africa Plc has recorded a profit before tax of N68 billion for the year ended December 31, 2015, showing an increase of 22 per cent compared with N56.2 billion in 2014.
Similarly, the bank defied competition and macroeconomic pressures to grow profit after tax by 25 per cent to N59.65 billion, from N47.9 billion in 2014.
This translated to a 20 per cent return on average equity.
Following the impressive performance, the board is proposing a final dividend of 40 kobo per share, bringing the total dividend for the 2015 financial year to 60 kobo per share.
UBA had earlier paid an interim dividend of 20 kobo per share, following the audit of its 2015 half year results.
Commenting on the result, the Group Managing Director/CEO, UBA Plc, Philips Oduoza, said: “Our 2015 profit is a new high, reflecting the hard work and discipline of our Board, Management and Staff in creating value for all stakeholders. We remain committed to growing in a responsible manner that aligns with our vision of building an enduring institution.”
He said the bank’s resilient business model, geographic diversification, proactive strategies, and strong governance created an edge for it through the year.
“We will continue to invest in our future whilst managing cost tightly to generate strong returns to shareholders,” he assured.
Speaking in the same vein, the Group Chief Finance Officer (GCFO) of the bank, Mr. Ugo Nwaghodoh, said: “Amidst macroeconomic volatilities, we leveraged efficiency gains in our business development and operations to grow earnings. We improved on our balance sheet management and pricing, thus ensuring a strong 19 per cent growth in interest income as well as an enhanced net interest margin of 6.3 per cent. Our improved service delivery and customized offerings helped in growing transaction banking volume, with attendant fee income. While we were exposed to some external cost pressure, we managed to keep our cost growth at five per cent (below the average inflation rate of nine per cent in Nigeria; our core market which represents three-quarter of our operations).”
He expressed satisfaction at the performance of the bank’s Africa operations, particularly in synergy extraction and pursuit of scale economics to achieve market share and earnings targets.
“Precisely, UBA Africa contributed 24 per cent of our Group’s profit before tax in the 2015, despite the impact of cross-currency depreciation in some of our markets. While our cautious stance on lending in Nigeria moderated the loan book, we recorded a collective 14 per cent loan growth in UBA Africa, as we deepen market penetration and our share of customers’ wallet. Our prudence and discipline in risk asset creation over the past half-decade sustained the quality of our loan portfolio; NPL ratio stabilized at 1.7 per cent with full provisions coverage,” he stated.