Pan-African financial institution, United Bank for Africa Plc’s profit before tax rose to N131.9bn as of the end of the 2020 financial period from N111.3bn at the end of the 2019.

The bank said in a statement on Monday titled ‘UBA delivers double-digit growth in gross earnings, as profit hits N132bn’, that this was contained in its audited results for the full-year ended December 31, 2020.

It stated, “Despite the challenging business environment during the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant effect on economies globally, the bank’s profit before tax was impressive at N131.9bn, compared to N111.3bn at the end of the 2019 financial year.

“In the same vein, the profit after tax rose remarkably by 27.7 per cent to N113.8bn compared to N89.1bn recorded at the end of the 2019 financial year.”

The 2020 audited financials filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Monday showed the bank’s gross earnings grew by 10.8 per cent to N620.4bn from N559.8bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.

The bank’s total assets also grew by 37 per cent to N7.7tn for the year under review.

On the cost side, it stated, operating expenses grew by 10.1 per cent to N249.8bn from N217.2bn in 2019, well below average inflation rate of 13.2 per cent for the year, reflecting the bank’s cost effectiveness.

The bank said in its tradition of rewarding shareholders, it proposed a final dividend of N0.35 kobo for every ordinary share of 50 kobo.

The final dividend, which was subject to the affirmation of the shareholders at its annual general meeting, would bring the total dividend for the year to N0.52kobo as the bank had paid an interim dividend of N0.17 kobo earlier in the year, it stated.

UBA recorded 24 per cent growth (to N2.6tn) in loans to customers, while customer deposits increased by 48.1 per cent to N5.7tn, compared to N3.8tn recorded in the corresponding period of 2019, reflecting increased customer confidence, enhanced customer experience, successes from the ongoing business transformation programme and the further deepening of its retail banking franchise.

Commenting on the result, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, noted that 2020 was important for UBA Group, as it gained further market share in most of its countries of operation.

He said, “We ended a very challenging year on a reassuring note. The bank recorded double-digit growth in both our top and bottom lines, as gross earnings and after-tax profit grew by 10.8 per cent and 27.7 per cent to N620.4bn and N113.8bn respectively.

“Return on equity was 17.2 per cent, even as our cost-to-income ratio moderated to 61.3 per cent.”

He added that the earnings per share of N3.20 was 26.8 per cent higher than that of the preceding year.

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