ACCESS BANK’S DIRECTORS APPROVE DIVIDEND PAYMENT

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Access Bank MD, Herbert Wigwe

The board of directors of Access Bank Plc has approved the bank’s audited report and accounts and payment of cash dividends for the 2020 business year.

They met at the weekend to consider the banking group’s audited consolidated and separate financial statement for the year ended December 31, 2020.

In a regulatory filing after the meeting, Access Bank stated that the board approved the financial statements and the payment of a final dividend for the immediate past business year. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will, however, still review the results and recommendations.

According to the bank, the audited results will be released to the investing public upon the approval of the CBN.

Shareholders of Access Bank had received a total dividend of N23.1 billion as cash payouts for the 2019 business year. Shareholders received N14.22 billion as final dividend for the 2019 business year in addition to interim dividend of N8.89 billion earlier paid by the bank, bringing total dividend for the year to N23.11 billion.

With this, shareholders received a final dividend of 40 kobo per share in addition to interim dividend of 25 kobo per share, representing a total dividend per share of 65 kobo. The dividend per share of 65 kobo represented an increase of 30 per cent on total dividend of 50 kobo per share paid for the 2018 business year.

Most analysts expected Access Bank to sustain impressive dividend payout.

Access Bank recently secured the initial approval from the CBN to restructure its operating structure from a commercial banking group to a financial services holding company (holdco).

In a regulatory filing at the stock market, Access Bank stated that it has received CBN’s Approval-in-Principle to restructure to a holdco.

Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe said the proposed holdco structure would enable the bank to further accelerate its objectives around business diversification, improved operational efficiencies, talent retention as well as robust governance.

He said the restructuring and strategic acquisitions across the continent will result in a more connected African banking network that builds on Access Bank’s existing foundation and enhances its value proposition to stakeholders, including customers and employees.

According to him, shareholders will benefit from the economies of scale of a larger banking network, including the associated cost efficiencies arising from the bank’s federated information technology system and replication of investments in innovative products across a wider range of markets.

He outlined that a broader and connected Africa network remains a core strategic focus for geographic earnings growth and diversification, which will further enhance profitability and risk metrics.

He added that with these transactions, Access Bank will be well placed to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services, further leveraging its presence in key global trade corridors in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.), United Kingdom (U.K.), China, Lebanon and India.

He explained that the Mozambique transaction will be funded from the capital invested by the bank in Access Bank Mozambique and will result in the Access Bank Mozambique becoming the seventh largest bank in the country, up from 20th.

He pointed out that as an enlarged business, Access Bank Mozambique will have an enhanced capacity to play a more impactful role in the growth of the Mozambican economy, particularly in the emerging oil and gas sector, an industry that Access Bank has deep experience in.

He noted that a presence in South Africa will serve as a cornerstone for further momentum in delivering on Access Bank’s mission to be Africa’s gateway to the world as the proposed transaction is expected to provide access to the largest banking market in Africa and enable Access Bank to consolidate its Southern African and broader African footprint with enhanced capabilities to fulfil the needs of multi-national clients.

“We have consistently said that we are focused on building the scale needed to become a leading African bank; one that leverages our experienced and growing talent base and key stakeholder partnerships towards driving sustainable impact and profitability.

Today’s announcement demonstrates further commitment to delivering our strategic aspirations of becoming Africa’s Gateway to the World in line with our vision to be the World’s Most Respected African Bank,” Wigwe said.

He said the transactions will significantly strengthen the bank’s presence in Southern Africa and further its footprint for growth in the SADC region.

“With a broader presence across the continent, Access Bank will be better placed to support our customers who are increasingly looking towards intra Africa growth.

The proposed transactions will accelerate the Bank’s momentum towards delivering world class banking services to an expanded customer base across Africa. Our goal remains to reach and impact 100 million unique customers across the continent,’’ Wigwe said.

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