By Peter Egwuatu
UNITED Bank for Africa Plc, UBA, has reported a 7.0 percent rise in gross earnings at N494.0 billion, compared to N461.6 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.
The Bank’s total assets grew significantly by 19.7 percent to an unprecedented N4.9 trillion for the year under review.
In a filing at the Nigerian Stock Exchange, NSE, weekend, the bank said it overcame the challenging business environments in Nigeria and across key markets in Africa, posting a Profit Before Tax of N106.8 billion, a 2.4 percent growth, compared to N104.2 billion in 2017 financial year.
Profit After Tax rose by 1.4 percent to N78.6 billion, compared to N77.5 billion recorded in 2017. Due to lower foreign exchange trading income, Operating Expenses grew by 4.1 percent to N197.3 billion, compared to N189.7 billion in 2017.
Commenting on the result, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka noted that the year 2018 was important for the Group, as it gained further market share in many countries of operation. More so, the CEO was excited at strategic achievements made in the year, including the start of wholesale banking operations in London, as it seeks to leverage the Group’s unique network across Africa. UBA also opened its 20th African operation.
“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 mobilization, with exciting results. We recorded a 48 percent year-on-year growth in retail deposits,” Uzoka said.
Uzoka remained confident that the Bank’s performance would be even 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.
Also speaking on the performance, the Group CFO, Ugo Nwaghodoh said that the improving mix of the Bank’s funding base and asset pricing, reinforce a positive outlook on Net Interest Margin (NIM) and broader balance sheet efficiency.
“Whilst 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,” Nwaghodoh said.