Shareholders of Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc will receive a total dividend of N160 million for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as the company has returned to profitability.

The insurance firm did not pay any dividend for 2016 year because of the loss N1.346 billion it recorded. The company was plunged into a loss position in 2016 due to a foreign loan denominated in dollar, which was affected by the depreciation of the naira that year.

However, the firm has bounced back to profitability in 2017 with a profit of N1.023 billion. Details of the audited results showed that Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc recorded gross premium written of N14.038 billion, an increase of 16 per cent from N12.144 billion in 2016. Gross premium income rose by 11 per cent from N11.983 billion to N13.353 billion, while net premium income stood at N11.467 billion, indicating a growth of 12 per cent above the N10.271 billion posted in the 2016.

The company ended the year with a profit after tax of N1.023 billion, compared with a loss of N1.346 billion in 2016. Pleased with the results, the board of directors has recommended a dividend of N160 million for the shareholders to approve at the company’s annual general meeting in July. The dividend translates to two kobo per share.

The Chairman of the company, Akin Ogunbiyi had recently given indication that the shareholders would smile as the company would return to profitability.

According to him, the previous year was very tough for operators, but despite this, the company was able to return to profitability.

‘’Twenty years after, the company still stands, despite recapitalisation and tough operating environment. Last year was tough for everybody, but as tough as it was, we are able to return to profitability,’’ he said.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Stock Exchange All Share Index (NSE ASI) depreciated by 0.83 per cent to close at 40,651.41 yesterday as bears returned to the market. The market capitalisation depreciated by 0.83 per cent to close at N14.73 trillion.

The depreciation recorded in the share prices of Dangote Cement, Nigeria Breweries, UBA, Access Bank, and Lafarge Africa were mainly responsible for the decline.

However, activity level strengthened as volume and value traded rose 63.5 per cent and 73.4 per cent to 424.4 million shares and N7.6 billion respectively. Zenith Bank (170.6 million shares), Access Bank (44.2 million shares) and FCMB (25.9 million shares).