United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc. has posted gross earnings of N300.6 billion in its half year (H1) operations, against N294 billion achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.
According to its results filed with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), the group recorded N2.2 trillion in net loans to customers, representing a 6.1 percent growth even as deposits from customers increased by 25.2 percent to N4.8 trillion.
The bank’s net interest income grew by 8.4 percent to N119.3billion, whilst net fee and commission income stood at N38.6billion a 7.0 percent increase above the same period in 2019.
Total Assets surpassed the N6 trillion marks to N6.8 trillion. Operating income also grew by 7.7 percent to N197.1 billion compared to N182.9 billion a year ago, while profit before tax stood at N57.1 billion from N70.3 billion in 2019, yielding a 14.4 per cent annualised return on average equity.
The bank’s shareholders’ funds remained strong at N634.7 billion up from N597.9 billion in December 2019, driven by growth in retained earnings, a reflection of UBA’s capacity for business growth.
The directors of UBA Plc declared an interim dividend of 17kobo per share for every ordinary share of N0.50 each held by its shareholders.
Commenting on the results, UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, said: “Our 2020H1 result is yet another demonstration of the resilience of our business model in an extremely uncertain and tough operating environment.
“We recorded commendable growth in our underlying business in terms of customer acquisition, transaction volumes and balance sheet whilst inflation, depressed yield environment and exchange rate volatilities impacted our net earnings as anticipated.He said further: “Despite the short-term challenges to various economic sectors occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic, we focused on the fundamentals of businesses in growth-driving sectors of various economies in which we operate and achieved 6.4 per cent growth in gross loan to customers, reaching the N2.3trillion mark.”
The group achieved N114.3 billion (a 10 per cent YoY growth) in interest income from loans and advances to customers, as well as credit related fees and commissions.
Uzoka explained that notwithstanding the lock-down in a number of countries and the general lull in several economic sectors, UBA’s banking channels remained open to customers ‘24/7’.
He added: “Fortunately, we had proactively built robust electronic channel platforms to enable us to serve customers efficiently, and deliver services to them in the comfort of their homes. Notably, we are adjusting our operating model in response to the ‘new normal’ and will continue to optimise the way we work and serve customers in the days ahead.”
He expressed confidence in the bank’s capacity to deliver good returns to shareholders, “We remain committed to our drive as ‘Africa’s Global Bank’ and confident of claiming and sustaining industry leadership on key metrics across geographies where we operate.
“We will strive to deliver our services in a sustainable way, ultimately leveraging our best-in-class digital capabilities to delight our 21 million (and growing) customers across 23 countries.”
Also speaking, UBA’s Group CFO, Ugo Nwaghodoh, said: “Our H1 2020 results reflect the inherent benefits of diversification as we have seen marked growth in contribution from the subsidiaries across Africa. Our Rest-of-Africa operations have continued to break new grounds in market share gains, providing a buffer for Group earnings. As the global and local economies begin to improve, we remain optimistic of a better performance in the second half of the year, with expected improvement in the Group’s NIM and ROAE which stood at 5.4 per cent and 14.4 per cent respectively, at end of H1 2020.
“We defensively positioned our loan portfolio whilst we grew gross loans by 6.4 per cent, maintaining our prudent risk appetite, even as NPL ratio for the group moderated to 4.1 per cent (from 5.3 per cent in 2019FY).
“We have prudently set-up reserves for loan impairments in recognition of potential losses on the portfolio, resulting in 150% growth in our provisioning, albeit, cost of risk moderated to 0.7 per cent from 0.9 per cent in 2019.”