Also, in its tradition of rewarding shareholders, the bank proposed a final dividend of 80 kobo for every ordinary share of 50 kobo for the year.
The final dividend, which is subject to the affirmation of the shareholders at its Annual General Meeting (AGM), will bring the total dividend for the year to N1.00, as the bank had paid an interim dividend of 20 kobo earlier in the year.The bank’s audited results for 2019 released on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), showed impressive growth across top and bottom lines.
According to the bank, gross earnings grew by 13.3 per cent to N559.8billion, compared to N494billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2018.
Total assets also grew significantly by 15.1 per cent to an unprecedented N5.6trillion during the period.Notwithstanding the challenging business environment in Nigeria, UBA’s profit before tax was impressive at N111.3billion, compared to N106.8billion a year earlier.Furthermore, profit after tax rose by 13.3 per cent to N89.1billion in 2019, compared to N78.6billion year-on-year.
On the cost side, operating expenses grew by 10.1 per cent to N217.2billion, against N197.3billion in 2018, well below average inflation rate within the period, which it attributed to cost efficiency.
UBA also posted a remarkable 20.2 per cent growth to N2.1trillion in loans to customers, whilst customer deposits rose 14.4 per cent to N3.8trillion, compared to N3.3trillion year-on-year.
Speaking on the result, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka, said: “The year 2019 was a very remarkable one for UBA given the adverse market developments. Nonetheless, we achieved sizable growth in the balance sheets and earnings, even as we reposition the Bank for the future.
“Gross earnings crossed the N500billion threshold to N559billion, whilst total assets also crossed the N5 trillion-mark for the first time to N5.6trillion.
“Our strategy remains centred around unparalleled service to our esteemed customers. Accordingly, we are making significant investments in a technology-driven transformation journey.
“We have recorded early gains as shown in the 39 per cent growth in electronic banking income to N38.8billion in 2019 from N27.9 billion in 2018. Our businesses are gaining commendable share in their markets across regions in Africa, as we deepen the scale and scope of our operations.”going forward, he added that, “In 2020, we will pursue the aggressive deepening of market share in all our subsidiaries, leveraging technology, rich human resources and our customer-first strategy to win in all the markets we operate, notwithstanding the challenges of our operating environment.”Also speaking on the performance, the Group CFO, Ugo Nwaghodoh, emphasised that the Bank is well-positioned to sustain impressive performance across key financial indices, adding that already, some of its previous investment in digital and technological transformation is already paying off significantly.