Bumper crop for Zenith Bank shareholders as bank pays N97.33 billion dividend
Zenith Bank Plc shareholders, at the bank’s 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) held on Wednesday 6th April 2022 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, unanimously approved the proposed final dividend, welcoming the final dividend payment of NGN 2.80 per share, bringing the total dividend for the financial year 2021 to NGN 3.10 per share with a total value of NGN 97.33 billion.
In his statement, the Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Mr. Jim Ovia, CON, thanked shareholders for their unwavering loyalty, which has seen the bank rise to the top of the country’s financial services industry, and assured them of the bank’s commitment to consistently delivering superior value to them.
Speaking on the bank’s performance, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu said, “If you look at the history of the bank over the years, Zenith Bank has always grown, and even during the pandemic, we have maintained a reasonable positive stance. growth trajectory. Growth comes as we deploy our digital capability to grow more businesses, simplify our service processes, make our processes more efficient, and address customer complaints. Apart from developing new products, we are discovering new verticals, especially in the retail segment, which are generating significant revenue. He added that: “Meeting shareholder expectations means we have to work harder. The team is dodged, hardworking, resilient, and most importantly, we have a very supportive board that comes with senior guidance.”
Commenting on the dividend payout, the Chairman Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, expressed shareholders’ joy over the steady payment of dividends by Zenith Bank, noting that the bank’s shares remain investors’ toast because the bank has never failed to pay dividends to shareholders.
Also speaking on behalf of the shareholders, the Chairman of the Association of Shareholders Rights of Nigeria (AARNS), Dr. Faruk Umar said, “The bank is doing very well. All ratios and indices have increased. And most importantly, while we were in a meeting, I got my dividend credit alert. It is very commendable. The bank’s leadership has been very effective; We thank Jim Ovia for the leadership he gave, he increased the dividend despite the country’s economic difficulties, and I think the GMD is doing very well. I congratulate the management and the staff of the bank, including the board of directors, and I am convinced that this year will also be very good for the bank. Dr. Faruk Umar also congratulated the Group Managing Director for the numerous awards the bank received in 2021, especially the sustainability awards.
Despite a difficult macroeconomic environment aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Zenith Bank Group recorded a year-on-year (YoY) growth in gross profit of 10%, from NGN 696.5 billion in the previous year to NGN 765.6 billion. billion NGN. This was driven by a 23% year-on-year growth in non-interest income from N251.7 billion to N309 billion and a 2% year-on-year growth in interest income from N420.8 billion naira to 427.6 billion naira.
Profit before tax also increased by 10% from NGN 255.9 billion to NGN 280.4 billion for the current year. This increase is due to the growth in turnover and the very good management of the treasury portfolio which has increased efficiency, leading to a decrease in interest charges of 12%, from NGN 121.1 billion in 2020 at NGN 106.8 billion for the current year. This further resulted in a 7% increase in net interest income to NGN 320.8 billion in 2021 from NGN 299.7 billion in 2020.
Customer deposits increased by 21% from NGN 5.34 trillion in the previous year to NGN 6.47 trillion in the current year. The growth in customer deposits comes from both businesses and individuals. Retail deposits increased by NGN 146 billion from NGN 1.72 trillion in 2020 to NGN 1.87 trillion in 2021. The Group’s continued pursuit of retail deposits, combined with the strategic rebalancing of its financing base, reduced the cost of financing from 2.1% to 1.5%. in the current year. Although operating expenses increased by 13% year-on-year, the growth remains below the rate of inflation, and the Group improved its earnings per share (EPS) which increased by 6%, from 7.34 NGN to 7.78 NGN.
Total assets increased by 11% from NGN 8.48 trillion in 2020 to NGN 9.45 trillion in 2021, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. With the steady resumption of economic activities, the Group has cautiously increased its gross lending by 20% from NGN 2.9 trillion in 2020 to NGN 3.5 trillion in 2021, with a moderate NPL ratio of 4.29% at 4.19% YoY. The Group recorded impressive liquidity and solvency ratios of 71.6% and 21.0%, which remained above the regulatory thresholds of 30% and 15%, respectively.
In recognition of its excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria at the 2021 World Finance Banking Awards, Best Bank in Nigeria at the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and 2021, Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, and Best in Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2020 and 2021 by the Ethical Boardroom. In addition, the bank appeared as the most valuable banking brand in Nigeria in Banker magazine’s Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, the number one bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2021 Top 1000 World Banks” ranking by The Banker Magazine and Retail Bank of the Year at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions Awards (BOFI) Awards 2020 and 2021.
Likewise, Zenith Bank was honored as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the 2020 ThisDay Awards and emerged winners in four categories at the 2021 SERAS (Sustainability, Enterprise, and Responsibility) Awards, winning the ” Best Company in Reporting and Transparency”, “Best Company in Infrastructure Development”, “Best Company in Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment”, and the coveted “Most Responsible Organization for Africa”.
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