They also approved the board’s recommendation to pay a final dividend of 40 kobo per share. UBA had earlier paid an interim dividend of 20 kobo in September 2015 bringing the total dividend paid in respect of its 2015 financial year to 60 kobo per share.
Speaking on behalf of shareholders, Sir Sunny Nwosu, President Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN) expressed his appreciation to the bank’s board and management for growing profit and increasing dividend payment at a time when many other banks recorded lower profit and had to cut dividends. He said; “this dividend payment reinforces the resilience of the Bank amidst challenging operating environment and it also shows the quality of the bank’s management”.
Earlier, Tony Elumelu, Chairman, UBA Plc, told shareholders that UBA’s strong performance in 2015 reflects efficiency gains, prudence and best practice in risk management.
“We recorded N315 billion in gross earnings, a 10% growth when compared to 2014 earnings. This was achieved in spite of relatively weak liquidity in the Nigerian foreign exchange market, which reduced foreign currency related business and income lines. Our Bank offset the macroeconomic challenges with improved customer service and balance sheet efficiency” Elumelu said.
Elumelu further told shareholders that the bank successfully managed its costs throughout the year, “thus preserving earnings to deliver a profit before tax of N68.5 billion, which translates to 22% growth over our performance in 2014”.
Looking into the future, Elumelu warned that developments in financial technology is changing the game in the financial industry, lowering operating costs and broad customer reach and becoming major disruptors within the banking industry. However, he gave the assurance that UBA is a part of the leading technology change agents, and thus well positioned to benefit from the brave new world offered by advancements in technology. He stressed that leading new technology and innovation is a part of the UBA Group’s DNA.
Also speaking at the AGM, Phillips Oduoza, Group Managing Director and CEO, UBA Plc, explained that management rigorously identified and eliminated fats in the system, improved on contract negotiations, eliminated overlapping functions and structures and continued to leverage technology in its operations, particularly in servicing its over 8 million customers through low cost service channels, which ensured it delivered improved performance to shareholders.
On the bank’s operations in Africa, Kennedy Uzoka the group DMD assured shareholders that UBAs African subsidiaries are growing stronger and the group has a target to increase Africa’s contribution to the Group’s profit to over 25% in 2016 from 24% in 2015, without undermining the positive outlook on Nigeria, where he expects to see positive growth from imminent implementation of the 2016 budget.
Uzoka said that UBA market share is increasing in most of its target markets, as it grows loans and deposits in double digits across most of its operations in Africa.
Shareholders were also informed of the recently announced GMD/CEO-designate, Kennedy Uzoka.
Meanwhile, the bank, during the week held a Board Learning Session at The UBA house in Lagos, where all the subsidiary board chairs and CEOs were invited by the group chairman Mr Tony O. Elumelu, to participate in the sessions. Members of the group Board together with the CEOs and Chairpersons of their 18 African subsidiaries converged to discuss ways to best serve customers, as well as the many landmark projects the bank has partnered in, such as the recently concluded financing of student housing at Senegal’s Cheikh Anta Diop University.
On Saturday April 9, the four day week long activity, culminated with the UBA CEO Awards Ceremony that was an opportunity to celebrate in grand style with the live streaming of the event on REDTV, the new lifestyle online channel taking the entertainment industry by storm and proudly sponsored by UBA.