Shareholders of Access Bank Plc have commended the lender and other consortium of banks for their involvement in the $1.72 billion Etisalat loan facility, which saved the company from total collapse.
Speaking at the 29th yearly general meeting in Lagos, last week, the shareholders noted that the bank’s decision to restore a business that was on the verge of collapse is a good step in the right direction.
Besides, the shareholders at the meeting approved a final dividend of 40 kobo per ordinary share due to every investor of the bank for the 2017 financial year, which an interim dividend of 25 kobo had already been paid to shareholders earlier in the year.
Specifically, the immediate-past Secretary of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Adebayo Adeleke, said the bank’s decision to accommodate a business that was going into comatose would help many Nigerians to retain their jobs in the telecommunications sector.
He noted that many Nigerians would have lost their job upon the collapse of the firm thereby increasing the country’s unemployment rate.
Adeleke, however, urged the bank management to intensify efforts in debt recovery in order to increase its bottom-line and dividend pay-out, noting that its profit would have increased significantly but for the telecommunication company’s loan provision.
Adeleke also berated the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), for its reform programmes, which failed to take into consideration the plight of shareholders and the harsh economic situation in the country.
Also speaking, the President, Proactive shareholders Association, Taiwo Oderinde, called for enhanced training of the bank’s chief finance officer, risk officers, among others, to boost their performance, saying they should be exposed to local and foreign trainings given the increasing level of fraudulent activities in the banking industry.
The Managing Director, Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, while reviewing the lender’s performance, said the 2017 financial year was a challenging one for the banking industry.
Wigwe noted that the exchange rate volatility and other economic headwinds resulted in a significant loan loss provision during the period, which affected the bank’s profitability.
He explained that the drop in its profit was due to the Etisalat’s loan provision, while assuring shareholders of improved performance in the years ahead.
The bank posted an increase of 20 per cent in gross earnings to N459.08 billion during the period against N381.32 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2016.
However, profit before tax dropped by N10.27 billion or 11.36 per cent when compared with N90.34 billion achieved in the previous year. The profit for the year stood at N61.99 billion from N71.44 billion posted in 2016.