The board of Zenith Bank International Plc yesterday said it would be distributing N9.42 billion to shareholders as interim dividend as the bank sustained steady growths across key performance indices in the first half of this year.
Shareholders on the register of the bank as at August 29, 2019 will receive an interim dividend per share of 30 kobo. The dividend will be paid on September 2, 2019.
Key extracts of the audited report and accounts for the six-month report ended June 30, 2019 released at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) showed that gross earnings grew by 3.0 per cent from N322.2 billion in first half of 2018 to N331.6 billion in first half 2019. The top-line performance was driven by a significant growth of 24 per cent in non-interest income from N88.6 billion to N109.7 billion. Fees from electronic products increased by 168 per cent from N10 billion to N27 billion, underlining significant progress in the bank’s retail banking initiatives.
Profit before tax rose by 4.0 per cent to N111.7 billion in first half 2019 compared with N107.4 billion in comparable period of 2018. After taxes, net profit rose from N81.74 billion in first half 2018 to N88.88 billion in first half 2019. With this, earnings per share improved by 9.0 per cent from N2.60 to N2.83.
The balance sheet also improved with increases in deposits and total assets. Group’s total deposit increased by 3.0 per cent from N861 billion by the close of the year on December 31, 2018 to close June 30, 2019 at N1.1 trillion. Despite the growth in deposit base, the bank optimised interest expense leading to a 4.0 per cent reduction from N74.7 billion to N72.1 billion due to the bank’s improved funding mix and profound treasury management skills.
Net interest margins (NIMs) however depressed from 10 per cent in first half 2018 to 8.6 per cent in first half 2019, as a result of the declining yield environment but cost of funds improved from 3.4 per cent to 3.0 per cent.
Further analysis showed that gross non-performing loans (NPLs) remained flat. The marginal movement in NPL ratio was as a result of the 3.0 per cent reduction in loan book from N2.02 trillion as at December 2018 to N1.95 trillion at the end of the period.
“We are creatively deploying new retail loan products to ensure we capture a reasonable share of the retail loan market. We remain committed to maintaining our strong balance sheet with liquidity ratio at 74.6 per cent and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 25 per cent, ensuring we remain above regulatory thresholds,” the bank stated yesterday.
The bank assured that it will in the second half continue to consolidate its leadership in the corporate space as well as its retail banking franchise with a view to delivering drive will continue unabated.
“We expect to see an improvement in economic activities even as we maintain our promise of delivering a unique service experience to our customers,” Zenith Bank stated.