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Zenith Bank shares N97.33bn dividend to shareholders

Zenith Bank Plc shareholders will receive N2.80 kobo for each share of the bank held. This brings the total dividend payment for the 2021 financial year to N3.10 per share with a total value of N97.33 billion.

Shareholders of the bank approved the dividend payment last week at the bank’s 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Jim Ovia, who presided over the AGM thanked the shareholders for their unflinching loyalty, which has enabled the bank to rise to the pinnacle of the nation’s financial services industry, and assured them of its commitment to consistently deliver superior value.

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Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, while showing appreciation to the shareholders said the bank had over the years maintained a reasonable positive growth trajectory, even during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the growth was coming from the fact that the bank is deploying its digital capability to grow more businesses, simplify its service processes, make its processes more efficient, and deal with customers’ complaints.

Apart from developing new products, the bank, he said, is discovering new business verticals, especially within the retail segment, which have significant revenue, adding that meeting the expectation of shareholders means the staff has to work harder.

He said. “The team is dodged, hardworking, resilient, and above all, we have a very supportive board that comes with superior guidance.”

Commenting on the dividend payout, the Chairman Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sir Sunny Nwosu, expressed the delight of shareholders over the consistent payment of dividends by Zenith Bank, noting that the bank’s shares remain the toast of investors because the bank has never failed to pay dividends to shareholders.

Zenith Bank Group achieved year-on-year (Year on Year) growth in gross earnings of 10 per cent from N696.5 billion reported in the previous year to N765.6billion. This was on the back of a 23 per cent Year on Year growth in non-interest income from N251.7billion to N309 Billion and a 2 per cent YoY growth in interest income from N420.8billion to NGN 427.6 billion.

Profit before tax also grew by 10 per cent, from N255.9 billion to N280.4 billion in the current year. The increase was due to growth in the top-line and very strong management of the treasury portfolio that increased efficiency, resulting in a drop in interest expense by 12 per cent from N121.1 billion in 2020 to N106.8 billion in the current year. This further led to a 7 per cent increase in net interest income of NGN320.8 billion in 2021 from N299.7 billion in 2020.

In the year under review, customer deposits increased by 21 per cent, increasing from N5.34 trillion in the previous year to N6.47 trillion in the current year. The growth in customer deposits came from both corporate and retail customers.

Retail deposits grew by N146 billion from N1.72 trillion in 2020 to N1.87 trillion in 2021. The group’s continuous drive for retail deposits combined with the strategic rebalancing of its funding base helped to reduce the cost of funding from 2.1 per cent to 1.5 per cent in the current year.

Although operating expenses grew by 13 per cent Year on Year, growth remains below the inflation rate, and the Group improved its Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew by 6% from N7.34 to N7.78.

Total assets increased by 11 per cent, growing from N8.48 trillion in 2020 to N9.45 trillion in 2021, mainly driven by growth in customer deposits. The group also grew its gross loans by 20 per cent, from N2.9 trillion in 2020 to N3.5 trillion in 2021, with moderated Non Performing Loan ratio from 4.29 per cent to 4.19 per cent Year on Year.

The group also recorded impressive liquidity and capital adequacy ratios of 71.6% and 21.0 per cent, which remained above regulatory thresholds of 30 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.