Better days are ahead for shareholders of Access Bank Plc as the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, has assured them of sustained healthy dividend payout.
Speaking at the annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos last Friday, Wigwe said Access Bank has healthy capital adequacy ratio, a robust balance sheet and strong brand that would lead to a better performance and the delivery of higher dividend.
Access Bank recorded a profit after tax of N106 billion in 2020, up by 13 per cent from N94 billion in 2019 and recommended a final dividend of 55 kobo per share for the year ended December 31, 2020 to bring the total dividend to 80 kobo having paid an interim dividend of 25 kobo earlier.
Wigwe said Access Bank is best positioned to maximize the identified opportunities in Africa on the back of a growing customer base and the move to a cashless economy.
“We have identified Africa to be a vast pool of opportunities with over 370 million unbanked adults, US$9.2 billion in remittances and cross border payments, 89 cities of over 1.3 billion inhabitants by 2025 and the overall African financial ecosystem.
We also see opportunities coming from the new African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as it is expected to expand intra-Africa trade to 53 per cent by 2022, eliminate tariff on qualifying trade and increase financial flows,” he said.
He noted that the series of mergers and acquisition they had undertaken since 2005 have all been value accretive, adding they had commenced green field operations in Mozambique and completed the acquisition of Transnational Bank and Cavmont Bank in Kenya and Zambia respectively to strengthen and increase their market presence.
“In early 2021, we received regulatory approval for our proposed acquisition of Grobank in South Africa to give us an inroad into the largest eco-nomic block in Africa and one of Africa’s biggest markets.
Our acquisition of Grobank will help strengthen our foothold in the Southern African market- Africa’s largest economic hub and place us in a strong position to take advantage of Africa,” he said.
Some of the shareholders at the AGM commended the board and management for the efficient for their efficient running of the bank.
The Chairman, Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association, Mr. Eric Akinduro, hailed the bank for sailing through the Covid-19 pandemic and delivered improved results that led to the declaration of 80 kobo dividend.
According to him, the various acquisitions by Access Bank across Africa, showed that the institution is very strong and pledged support of the shareholders.
On his part, Sir Sunny Nwosu of Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria(ISAN) said given the expansion drive, the bank was really aiming to play a leading role on the African continent.