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The management of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc on Thursday announced Profit Before Tax (PBT) increase of 33 per cent to N24.7 billion as against N18.7 billion reported in 2018. This is even as the lender for the first time since November 17, 2008, proposed a dividend of N0.25 kobo per share amidst impressive full year ended December 31, 2019, audited result and accounts, TCPBusiness Reports.

From the bank’s profit & loss figures, gross earnings: grew 14 per cent to ₦159.9 billion from N140.1 billion in 2018, driven by an increase in earning assets Union Bank of Nigeria report gross loans that gained 20 per cent to N595.3 billion in 2019 from N496.8 billion in 2018, inline with our drive to create quality risk assets across key economic segments of opportunity.

Also, customer deposits up by five per cent to N886.3 billion from N844.4 billion in reported 2018; reflecting the strength of the brand in a very competitive environment for deposits.

Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Officer, Union Bank of Nigeria, Emeka Emuwa, said, “The Bank’s strong overall performance has paved the way for a critical milestone. “With the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Board of Directors will recommend a dividend payment to shareholders for the first time in over a decade. “Returning value to our shareholders has been at the core of Union Bank’s transformation and continuous drive to become a leading financial institution in Nigeria.

“The Bank delivered a solid set of results for full-year (FY) 2019, recording growth across the major income lines. The top-line revenue at N159.9billion is up 14per cent from N140billion in 2018. Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased by 33per cent from N18.6billion in 2018 to N24.7billion for the year.

“Core to our earnings has been the conscientious growth of our loan book. The Bank booked N98billion in new loan assets in the course of the year reflecting a 20per cent growth to close at N595.3billion in Gross Loans. “As a result of our larger loan book and intensified recovery efforts, Non-Interest Income grew by 23per cent from N35.3billion to N43.3billion in the period with recoveries accounting for N8.8billon of the total amount.

“Consistent with our vision to be Nigeria’s ‘most reliable and trusted banking partner,’ we are optimizing our business model to focus solely on Nigeria where we continue to invest and thrive.

Consequently, we have made the strategic decision to divest of our UK subsidiary, Union Bank UK which will enable us focus on the distinct long-term opportunities in the Nigerian market. The divestment is expected to conclude in 2020 subject to regulatory approvals in Nigeria and the UK.

“In 2020, we will continue to focus on bottom-line initiatives that will build on our success in 2019. We are promoting synergy across our businesses and functions to ensure alignment with and on our strategic objectives.

Speaking on the FY 2019 numbers, Chief Financial Officer, Joe Mbulu said: “Our Group numbers reflect the classification of our UK subsidiary as a discontinued operation in line with IFRS 5. This is reflected in both 2018 and 2019 numbers. “We are proud of the top-line and bottom-line numbers the Bank delivered in 2019, owing largely to operational efficiencies and a laser focus on key deliverables.

“Through our LEAP initiative, our focus on discretionary cost discipline led to a reduction of N2.4 billion on related cost lines driving overall expenses down. Consequently, our Cost-Income Ratio declined to 74.1per cent from 79.2per cent in 2018. “Our Total Customer Deposits grew by five per cent to N886.3billion from N844.4billion as at December 2018 with low-cost deposits up by 7.7per cent and now accounting for for 74per cent of total customer deposits compared to 71per cent in 2018.”

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