Union Bank Records N24bn Profit, Resumes Dividend Payment

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Emeka Emuwa

Goddy Egene

Union Bank of Nigeria Plc has resumed rewarding its shareholders after almost a decade.

To this end, the bank has recommended a dividend of 25 kobo for the year ended December 31, 2019.

In its audited results made available yesterday, the lender reported gross earnings of N159.9 billion up from N140 billion in 2018 and profit of N24.366 billion as against N18.7 billion in 2018. Based on the improved results, the board has recommended a dividend of 25 kobo per 50 kobo share.

Commenting on the results, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Emeka Emuwa, said: “The bank’s strong overall performance has paved the way for a critical milestone. With the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the board of directors will recommend a dividend payment to shareholders for the first time in over a decade.

“Returning value to our shareholders has been at the core of Union Bank’s transformation and continuous drive to become a leading financial institution in Nigeria. Core to our earnings has been the conscientious growth of our loan book.

“The bank booked N98 billion in new loan assets in the course of the year reflecting a 20 per cent growth to close at N595.3 billion in gross loans. As a result of our larger loan book and intensified recovery efforts, non-interest income grew by 23 per cent from N35.3 billion to N43.3 billion in the period with recoveries accounting for N8.8 billion of the total amount. “Consistent with our vision to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted banking partner, we are optimising our business model to focus solely on Nigeria where we continue to invest and thrive. Consequently, we have made the strategic decision to divest of our United Kingdom (UK) subsidiary, Union Bank UK which will enable us focus on the distinct long-term opportunities in the Nigerian market.

“The divestment is expected to conclude in 2020 subject to regulatory approvals in Nigeria and the UK. In 2020, we will continue to focus on bottom-line initiatives that will build on our success in 2019. We are promoting synergy across our businesses and functions to ensure alignment with and on our strategic objectives.”

Also speaking, Chief Financial Officer, Union Bank, Joe Mbulu said:”We are proud of the top-line and bottom-line numbers the Bank delivered in 2019, owing largely to operational efficiencies and a laser focus on key deliverables.

“Through our LEAP initiative, our focus on discretionary cost discipline led to a reduction of N2.4 billion on related cost lines driving overall expenses down. Consequently, our cost-income ratio declined to 74.1 per cent from 79.2 per cent in 2018.”