EHIME ALEX, Lagos
Zenith Bank Plc has declared a dividend payout of a total value of N87.9 billion at its 29th Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Monday in Abuja.
The announcement came following shareholders unanimous approval of the proposed final dividend of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend payment for the 2019 financial year to N2.80 per share.
According to the Chairman of the Board, Mr Jim Ovia, the AGM was an opportunity for the bank to engage shareholders on its 2019 financial year performance.
In a statement by the bank’s corporate communications department to NATIONAL ACCORD, the chairman said, “Zenith Bank is committed to consistently deliver superior returns to our highly esteemed shareholders by ensuring that a good chunk of our profit is set aside for you. In a clear demonstration of this, we had declared and paid you an interim dividend of 30kobo per share in the course of the 2019 financial year. We hereby propose a final dividend of N2.50kobo per share. If approved, this will bring the total dividend for the year ended December 31, 2019, to N2.80kobo per share”.
The bank has again reaffirmed its leading position in the Nigerian banking industry after posting an impressive Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N243bn, representing a 5 per cent increase over the N231.6bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.
Its Profit After Tax (PAT) stood at N208.8bn over N193bn, an increase of 8 per cent, thus making Zenith Bank the first Nigerian bank to cross the 200billion Naira mark.
In the annual report released recently, the bank’s result showed an increase in gross earnings from N662bn to N630bn, indicating dominance in market share, while its assets grew by 5 per cent from the N5.9 trillion to N6.3 trillion, a growth driven by the 29 per cent increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019.
The Bank’s fees on electronic products continue to grow significantly with a 108 per cent Year-on-Year (YoY) from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in 2019.
The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low-interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1 per cent to 3.0 per cent.
However, this also affected net interest margin, which reduced from 8.9 per cent to 8.2 per cent in the current year due to re-pricing of interest-bearing assets. Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew 8 per cent from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.
The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22 per cent from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1 per cent and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98 per cent to 4.30 per cent.
Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3 per cent and 22.0 per cent respectively.
Financial analysts noted this unprecedented feat by a Nigerian Bank as remarkable, and an indication of strong financial leadership and resilience.
As a testament to this superlative performance, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the third consecutive year, in the recently released Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2020”, the Best Bank in Nigeria 2020 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the Thisday Awards 2020. In addition, the Bank was also voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co.