Tony Elumelu, group chairman of United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), on Thursday, reassured shareholders and investors of the bank’s unwavering commitment to sustain current growth trajectory, even as efforts at business diversification across Africa and beyond increasingly yield returns.
UBA grew its gross earnings to N660.2 billion in 2021 while profit before tax rose by 20.3 percent to N153.1 billion. Its profit after tax rose 8.7 percent to N118.7 billion, compared to N109.2 billion in 2020.
At the bank’s 60th annual general meeting in Abuja, Elumelu noted that strategic investment decisions over the past few years had translated to huge returns for investors, despite the challenging business environment witnessed in the last two years.
He said 2021 was a satisfying year for the group, evident in the strong performance that was recorded across key financial metrics.
“Notably, double-digit growth of 12.2 percent and 11 percent was recorded in customer deposits and total assets to N6.4 trillion and N8.5 trillion respectively. Significant improvement was also demonstrated in the group’s earning capacity, illustrated by the 7 percent growth in gross earnings to N660.2 billion,” he said.
Overall, the group’s profitability grew by 20.3 percent, which, according to the chairman, demonstrates dominance in the financial services space.
He said the diversity of income base, a critical foundation of the bank’s long-term strategy, increased, with their African operations (excluding Nigeria) contributing approximately 63.2 percent of the year’s profit.
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 – half year – paid an interim dividend of 20 kobo.
The bank, through its internal credit risk assessment models and dynamic recovery management, was able to further drive down the ratio of non-performing loans to a record low of 3.6 percent from 4.7 percent in 2020.
It said this was achieved despite the expansion in the bank’s loan book to N2.83 trillion in the year.
Elumelu said, “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.
“These were the building blocks for the very strong financial performance and the growth delivered by your Group in 2021, further confirming the wisdom of the investments we made and the strategy we have pursued, to ensure the diversification and sustainability of our business model.”
Expressing delight to shareholders and customers who have stood with UBA for almost eight decades, Elumelu remained confident of the bank’s capacity to sustain this momentum, 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.
Kennedy Uzoka, UBA group managing director/CEO, said it was exciting that the global community recognised the group’s role in transforming Africa’s economic landscape through innovative and customer-focused banking services.
“The year 2021 can best be described as a year of global recovery; economies around the world began to witness early-stage recoveries, as supply chains recover from devastating disruptions suffered in 2020. Consequently, UBA recorded a remarkable 7 percent growth in topline to N660 billion ($1.56 billion), and profit before tax of N153.1 billion, up 20.3 percent from prior year,” he said.
UBA’s net loans and advances grew by 7.7 percent to N2.8 trillion, with exposure mostly to resilient economic sectors including oil and gas, agriculture and manufacturing.
Customer deposits grew by 12.2 percent, crossing the N6 trillion mark to N6.4 trillion.