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… As shareholders approve 38 kobo dividend
By Peter Egwuatu
First Bank Nigeria Holdings, FBNH Plc has assured shareholders of repositioning the Group for greater height as it overcome its Non Performing Loan, NPL challenges, just as shareholders endorsed its proposed 38 kobo dividend per share for the financial year ended December 31, 2019.
The Group Managing Director/CEO, FBN Holdings, Mr  UK Eke in his address to shareholders at the 8th Annual General Meeting, AGM said central to its strategy is the three-pronged focus of the Group aimed at restoring shareholders value over the last three years, which enhanced the revenue profile of the Group in the context of diversification across multiple streams, markets and sectors.

He said : “ The strategy to reposition the Group is gathering momentum and the key pain points, including the challenging delinquent loan portfolio, have been effectively addressed except for the need to intensify efforts at reducing our cost to serve.
“Now that we are on course for a normalised NPL territory in 2020 and with our leadership position in electronic channels, the Group is positioned to take advantage of the evolving opportunities in the market for the benefit of our esteemed shareholders.”
Meanwhile, the Chairman, FBN Holdings Dr. Oba Otudeko,  in his opening address said :  In 2019, FBN Holdings deepened its efforts to realise revenue as a 42 per cent increase in synergy revenue was recorded during the financial year, highlighting the Group’s enhanced ability to address customers’ needs through our thriving subsidiaries. It is important to highlight that the Board of Directors and Management of FBN Holdings will ensure that all our operating entities have sufficient resources (financial and non-financial) to grow their businesses, deepen market penetration and enhance overall shareholder value.”
The Chairman noted that the year 2020 marks the beginning of another three-year strategic planning cycle for the Group and we have extensively engaged internally and mapped our course of action over the next three years.
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Meanwhile, shareholders of the Company commended the board and management for steering the ship of the company to higher profitability. The shareholders, who spoke at the AGM, expressed their satisfaction with the financial statement and approved the 38 kobo dividend per share that was proposed by the Board of Directors of the company.
Chief Sunny Nwosu, President Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, praised the Board and Management of the Group for the dividends proposed saying, “I want to put on record, our appreciation for the dividend being proposed. We look forward greater dividend in the future because we believe we have in place a management with good thinking. So, we are expectant of good products.”
Speaking in the same vein, another shareholder, Mr. Adebayo Adeleke described the financial result of the Group as another outstanding performance and one that has helped shareholders enjoyed better dividend of 38 kobo this year.
In his own contribution, another shareholder, Mr. Matthew Akinlade said, “I want to praise the commitment of the directors, the management and staff to the progress of the group. I looked at all the 8 Board Meetings held in 2019, all the Directors were present. So, I congratulate the group and pray we continue to make progress.”
Meanwhile, financial performance  show  the Group’s profit before tax of N83.6 billion, a 30.9 per cent growth over prior year at N63.9 billion. Other key metrics such as return on equity, loans and advances, deposits, shareholders’ equity improved during the year at varying rates.  Return on equity improved by 270 basis points closing the year at 12.4 per cent from 9.7 per cent. Total assets grew by 11.4 per cent to N6.2 trillion from N5.6 trillion in 2018. Deposit and shareholders’ equity grew 15.3 per cent and 25 per cent, closing the year at N4.0 trillion and N661.1 billion respectively.
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