By Peter Egwuatu
LAGOS— Access Bank Plc has released its audited results for the year ended 31 December, 2017, showing resilient growth in total income, just as it proposed 40 kobo per share dividend to its shareholders.
In the audited financial results released to Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, yesterday, Access Bank recorded a total income of N459.1 billion, representing an increase of 20 percent over N381.3 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2016.
Growth in gross earnings was boosted by a 29 per cent increase in interest income to N319.9 billion in 2017, from N247.2 billion in 2016 while net interest income grew by 17 percent from N163,452 billion in FY 2017, from N139,148 billion in the comparative period of 2016.
Similarly, Non-Interest Income grew five percent to N139.1 billion, in 2017 from N133.4 billion in 2016, leading to an 11 per cent increase in the group’s operating income to N302,596 billion in 2017, from N272,605 billion in 2016.
The growth in the group’s earnings is underlined by an expansion in its core business, as asset book loans and advances grew 11 percent to N2,064 trillion in 2017, from N1,855 trillion in December 2016.
Total assets grew 18 percent to N4,102 trillion in December 2017, from N3,484 trillion in the corresponding period in 2016. Additionally, the group recorded an increase of 13 percent in shareholder returns of N515 billion in December 2017, from N454 billion in the corresponding period in 2016.
Although the group posted significant growth in earnings, the adverse lingering effects of the macro on asset quality in the industry led to the bank taking prudent provisions in the course of the year, thereby dampening profitability, as Profit Before Tax, PBT, declined 11 percent to N80.1 billion in 2017 from N90.3 billion in 2016.
Nonetheless, Access Bank’s fundamentals remain strong and the Group remains poised for sustainable growth in the coming periods. The Group proposes a final dividend of 40kobo per share to its shareholders, in addition to 25kobo interim dividend paid during the period, making a total of 65kobo for the financial year. The dividend is subject to approval at the Annual General Meeting.
Commenting on the results, Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director said, “Our operating performance in 2017 was impacted by the residual effects of macro-economic conditions of 2016, characterised by slow economic expansion and adverse credit conditions, which resulted in making conservative provisions on our loan book. Despite the macro and regulatory headwinds, our underlying business remained strong as reflected in the gross earnings growth of 20 percent to ¦ 459 billion in 2017.
We grew our loan book to position it for improved earnings, whilst driving deposit mobilization from targeted segments to diversify our funding base.”