Despite the increasingly unpredictable environment witnessed in some of its countries of operation, the United Bank for Africa has delivered double-digit growth in its profit before tax as it rose by 21 per cent to N70.3bn for the half-year to June 2019, compared to N58.1bn recorded during the correspondent period of 2018.
The pan-African financial institution stated this in its audited half-year financial results for the period ended June 2019, showing impressive growth across key performance indices as well as a significant contribution from its African subsidiaries.
For instance, the lender also improved its profit after tax to N56.7bn, 29.6 per cent growth against N43.8bn achieved in the first half of 2018. The profit for the first half of the year translated to an annualised return on average equity of 21.7 per cent.
According to its results filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange, UBA recorded a 14 per cent year-on-year rise in top-line, with gross earnings of N293.7bn, compared to N257.9bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.
Analysts say that this performance emphasises the capacity of the group to deliver a strong performance through economic cycles despite the overall challenging business environment.
As of 30 June 2019, the bank’s total assets grew by 4.8 per cent, crossing the N5tn mark to N5.1tn. Customer deposits also raised by 4.8 per cent to N3.51tn, compared to N3.35tn as at December 2018.
This growth trajectory underscores UBA’s market share gain, as it increasingly wins customers through its revitalised customer service culture coupled with innovative digital banking offerings. The bank’s shareholders’ funds remained strong at N542.5bn, reflecting its strong capacity for internal capital generation.
In line with its culture of paying both interim and final cash dividend, the board of directors declared an interim dividend of N0.20 per share for every ordinary share of N0.50 each held by its shareholders.
Commenting on the results, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr Kennedy Uzoka, said, “I am pleased with the half performance of the group, having delivered 14 per cent growth in gross earnings and 21 per cent growth in profit before tax.
“Despite the subdued yield environment in some of our large markets, we achieved a nine per cent growth in interest income and defended the net interest margin.
“We also achieved a 39 per cent growth in our electronic banking revenues, as we broaden and deepen our digital banking play across Africa. Revenues from our remittance and fund transfer businesses grew 69 per cent and 53 per cent respectively. All these factors attest to the efficacy of our strategies and the resilience of our business model.”
He expressed optimism that the ongoing group-wide transformation programme would, in the quarters ahead, enable the bank to deliver substantial operational efficiencies and best-in-class customer service, which will ultimately boost earnings.
“We will continue to adopt best practice standards to grow and manage the portfolio in the quarters ahead,” he added