United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has announced N494 billion gross earnings for its audited 2018 financial results.Its total assets were worth N4.9 trillion.
According to the bank’s 2018 financials filed at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), it gross earnings grew by seven per cent to N494 billion, compared to N461.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period in 2017. The bank’s total assets also rose significantly by 19.7 per cent to N4.9 trillion for the year under review.
These results, according to financial analysts, largely demonstrates the benefits of the Group’s Pan-African footprints with continued growth in market share in key countries of operation across Africa. The contributions of ex-Nigeria subsidiaries at 40 per cent, again confirms the strong footing of the Group’s franchise in Africa.
Despite the challenging business environments in the country and across key markets in Africa, the bank’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) stood at N106.8 billion, a 2.4 per cent growth, compared to N104.2 billion in 2017 financial year.
Similarly, the Profit After Tax rose by 1.4 per cent to N78.6 billion, compared to N77.5 billion recorded in 2017. Due to lower foreign exchange (forex) trading income, Operating Expenses grew by 4.1 per cent to N197.3 billion, compared to N189.7 billion in 2017.
Reflecting the modest appetite of the bank in the year under review as well as impact of International Financial Reporting Standards 9 (IFRS 9) implementation, net loans recorded a prudent 3.9 per cent growth to N1.72 trillion while customer deposits increased by 22.5 per cent to N3.3 trillion, compared to N2.7 trillion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.
The performance reflects increased customer confidence and enhanced service channels. Furthermore, shareholders’ funds decreased marginally by 4.8 per cent to N502.6 billion, reflecting the impact of IFRS 9 implementation.
Commenting on the result, the bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka noted that 2018 was important for the Group, as it gained further market share in many countries. The CEO was excited at the strategic achievements, including the start of wholesale banking in London, as it seeks to leverage the Group’s unique network across Africa. UBA also opened its 20th African branch.
“Defying the relatively weak economic growth in Africa, earnings were positive and we grew our balance sheet by 20 percent, driven by the 23 percent growth in our deposit funding. In a period of economic uncertainty, we have focused on retail deposit mobilisation, with exciting results. We recorded a 48 percent year-on-year growth in retail deposits and improved our CASA ratio to 77 percent, optimising our funding mix, which will enhance our net interest margin (NIM), over the medium term,” Uzoka said.
Uzoka remained confident that the bank’s performance would be stronger in the years ahead and shareholders would enjoy even greater dividends, as the Group is well-positioned to take advantage of imminent fiscal reforms across many economies in Africa, a positive outlook which should stimulate new opportunities in infrastructure, manufacturing, agriculture and resource sectors.
He continued: “Our operations in the United Kingdom now offer end-to-end trade, treasury, structured finance, wholesale deposit taking and ancillary services. With this development, we are better positioned to fulfill our aspiration of deepening trade and capital flows between Europe and Africa. We are also pleased with the market acceptance of our new operation in Mali.”
Also speaking on the performance, the Group Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Ugo Nwaghodoh said the improving mix of the bank’s funding base and asset pricing reinforced a positive outlook on Net Interest Margin (NIM) and broader balance sheet efficiency.
“While considerable investment in people, digital transformation and channel enhancement masked cost efficiency gains within the year, with cost-to-income ratio at 64 percent, we are convinced that our diligent execution of new initiatives will ensure the reduction of Cost to Income Ratio (CIR) towards our medium-term target.