Shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc Thursday restated their support for the board and management of the bank based on the improved performance recorded in the 2018 financial year.
Speaking on the performance of the bank at the 57th annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos, President of the Nigerian Shareholders’ Solidarity Association (NSSA), Chief Timothy Adesiyan said the performance of the bank was highly commendable in view of the significant improvement in most of the indices.
According to him, although the bank is not paying any dividend to shareholders for the year, they are happy with the capital appreciation of the share price and the future bountiful dividends that await they.
Also commenting, National Coordinator Shareholders United Front (SUF), Mr. Gbenga Idowu, said the results reflected a very good start by Mr. Abubakar Suleiman as CEO of the bank, who took over from Mr. Yemi Adeola a year ago..
In his address, Chairman of the board of directors of the bank, Mr. Asue Ighodalo said:“Our financial results in 2018 reflect an even stronger business performance despite the impact of an ailing operating environment.”
He explained that the bank sustained earnings growth momentum in 2018 as gross earnings grew by 14 per cent to N152.2 billion from N133.5 billion recorded in 2017.
According to him, despite the fact that operating expenses increased by 26.4 to N66.9 billion due to investment in human capital and technology, the bank grew profit before tax by 17.1 per cent to N9.5 billion and profit after tax by 14.9 per cent to N9.2 billion.
Ighodalo said Sterling Bank ended 2018 with an improved balance sheet position as total assets grew steadily by about 2.9 percent to N1.1 trillion.
“We continued to sustain operational efficiencies and our focus in growing the bank’s retail franchise. This resulted in an improved deposit base and moderate growth in our loan book, specifically riding on the 108.3 percent growth in retail and consumer loans delivered mainly by SPECTA – Nigeria’s fastest digital lending platform,” he said.
The chairman said the bank was able to maintain the cost of funds at 7.4 per cent amidst high-interest environment which persisted for a significant part of the year.
Looking ahead, Ighodalo said the bank expects the first half of the year to be dominated largely by election activities at the expense of economic growth, heightened by subdued foreign capital inflows, increased pressure on the Naira and accelerated foreign exchange intervention programme while the second half would witness the likelihood of stronger consumer confidence.