Access Bank Plc yesterday recorded a profit before tax of N52 billion for the half year (H1) ended June 30, 2017, showing a growth of 18 per cent above the N43.9 billion in the corresponding period of 2016.
Profit after tax rose by 17 per cent to N39.45 billion, up from N33.67 billion in 2016. Based on the performance, the board of directors of Access Bank has declared an interim dividend of 25 kobo per share for shareholders.
According to the audited H1 results released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) gross earnings stood at N246.6 billion, up 42 per cent from N174.1 billion in the corresponding period of 2016. The growth in gross earnings was driven by 66 per cent increase in interest income on the back of continued growth in the bankâ€™s core business and 34 per cent non-interest income underlined by strong foreign exchange (FX) income on the bankâ€™s trading portfolio.
The bankâ€™s capital adequacy ratio (CAR) remained strong at 21.6 per cent well above the regulatory minimum.
Commenting on the results, Group Managing Director/CEO, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe said the bankâ€™s performance in H1 reflects the strength and sustainability of our business as well as the effective execution of our strategy.â€
According to him, the group maintained stable asset quality, recording non-performing loan (NPL) and Cost of Risk Ratios (CRR) of 2.5 per cent and 1.0 per cent, respectively.
â€œWe maintained stable asset quality, recording non-performing loans (NPL) and cost of risk ratios (CRR) of 2.5 per cent and 1.0 per cent and wound down on our foreign currency exposures as a deliberate strategy to de-risk the business. As we cautiously grow our loan portfolio in light of macro realities, we will continue to uphold our proactive risk management principles in order to maintain asset quality within acceptable limits. Whilst balancing our appetite for growth and profitability, we remain committed to maintaining solid liquidity and capital ratios,â€ Wigwe said.
He added that the bankâ€™s retail expansion drive led to investments in its channels, distribution network, service quality and brand enhancement.
â€œThese, as well as AMCON charges resulted in higher operating expenses in the period. We continue to, however, intensify the implementation of our cost reduction initiatives in order to improve the bottom-line despite high inflationary environment. In view of the recovering macro, our focus remains growing the retail franchise through digital expansion to enable diversified earnings as well as continuous and proactive risk management as we selectively grow risk assets. We will remain resilient in the execution of our bold strategy for increased growth and profitability whilst maximising shareholder value in 2017 and beyond,â€ Wigwe noted.