United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) on Thursday assured shareholders and investors of its unwavering commitment to sustaining its current growth trajectory.
The Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, gave the assurance at the 60th Annual General Meeting of UBA at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja, monitored virtually in Lagos.
He said that its efforts at business diversification across Africa and beyond had continued to yield increasing returns.
Elumelu noted that the bank’s strategic investment decisions over the past few years had translated to huge returns for its investors, despite the challenging business environment witnessed in the last two years.
“I am proud of how as a Group, we have been able to further consolidate on the new capabilities we have built, novel customer solutions we have deployed, efficiency gains recorded and the growth prospects we have leveraged from a recovering world,’’ Elumelu said.
According to him, these are the building blocks for the very strong financial performance and the growth delivered by the Group in 2021.
Expressing delight to shareholders and customers who had stood with UBA for almost eight decades, Elumelu remained confident of the bank’s capacity to sustain this momentum.
He said this was especially as economic activities recover from the impact of the COVID -19 pandemic.
“Our goal is to continue to build strong brand loyalty with our customers and create additional value for our shareholders, whose underlying support has positioned UBA for continued growth,” the Chairman said.
Answering questions from a shareholder on the decision to increase the remuneration of Board members and Directors in 2022, he said the bank was still prudent.
He said that such an increase was done last in 2011 and there was nothing wrong with doing it now.
A shareholder, Mr Jonah Awoh, had asked for more explanation on the increase.
Awoh had also urged the bank to avoid the avoidable in terms of fines.
Kennedy Uzoka, UBA’s Group Managing Director, at the meeting, said that the bank had received remarkable recognition from the global community for the role played in the transformation of the African economy.
He said, “We are happy that the global community recognises the role our Group is playing in the transformation of the African economic landscape through innovative and customer-focused banking services”.
He also said that the bank’s business in the United Kingdom had specifically witnessed remarkable expansion.
“As from July 2021, UBA UK started making profit, and even to date, they are still doing well, and the same can be said for many of our African subsidiaries.
“ The truth is that we are driven by the opportunities and potential in each of the geographies that we invested in, and we are happy with what we have achieved so far,’’ he said.
Reacting to a question from a shareholder on the fines slammed on the bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on cryptocurrency-related issues, he said it was regrettable.
He said the people who made the bank to incur the fines masked their identity to perpetrate the acts.
Uzoka, however, said that the bank, working with some other jurisdictions, was able to get some algorithms that would help tackle such occurrences in future.
One of the shareholders, Alhaji Farouk Umar, commended the board for growing its customer base profitably.
“Despite the economic situation, UBA has been able to grow profitability and increase its customer base.
“If you compare the dividend with the share price of UBA, you will see that our dividend yield is very high.
“No bank in Nigeria has been able to achieve this, and I, therefore, commend the UBA board,” Umar said.
Other shareholders like Sir Sunny Nwosu, Mr Patrick Ajuda, Mrs Bisi Bakare and Chief Timothy Adesiyan, commended the board and management of UBA for the impressive financials which had translated to higher dividends for shareholders.
At the end of the 2021 financial year, UBA’s Profit Before Tax was impressive with a 20.3 percent growth to N153.1 billion, compared to N127.3 billion at the end of the 2020 financial year.
Profit After Tax rose grew by 8.7 percent to N118.7 billion in 2021, compared to N109.2 billion recorded the previous year.
As a result, the Bank proposed a final dividend of 80 kobo for every ordinary share of 50 kobo for the financial year ended December 31, 2021, bringing the total dividend for the year to N1.00 as the Bank had earlier paid an interim dividend of 20kobo.
United Bank for Africa Plc is Africa’s global bank, offering banking services to more than 27 million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touchpoints in 20 African countries.
It also has a presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France, and more recently got an operating licence in principle, in the United Arab Emirates. nan.