Union Bank’s H1 2019 Result: A Mixed Baggage

 

E Emuwa
Emeka Emuwa

Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s longest standing financial institutions, has announced its unaudited financial statements for the period ended June 30, 2019.

A statement from the bank, quotes the bank’s CEO, Mr. Emeka Emuwa  as having said “Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on opportunities to deliver our simpler, smarter banking promise to our customers while improving internal operational efficiencies which will translate to enhanced shareholder value”

The statement is coming on the heels of an unimpressive result which saw most of the Group Financial Highlights: trending downwards Aside the Profit before tax which was up 4% to ₦12.1bn as against ₦11.7bn in H1 2018, Gross earnings dipped by 9% to ₦76.0bn compared to ₦83.3bn in H1 2018), Interest income equally dipped by 8% to ₦57.3bn when juxtaposed with the figure of ₦62.2bn recorded in H1 2018.

Net interest income after impairment was marginally up 3% to ₦30.5bn (₦29.7bn in H1 2018); supported by an aggressive drive in collections, while Non-interest income: came down 12% to ₦18.7bn as against ₦21.1bn in H1 2018; due to muted volatility negatively impacting trading income. This was despite a 27% growth in credit-related fees and 169% growth in cash recoveries at N5.3bn

Net operating income: in the same vein went slightly down 2% to ₦49.6bn compared to ₦50.9bn in H1 2018..

On the positive side Operating expenses dipped 4% to ₦37.5bn from ₦39.2bn in H1 2018); reflecting the gains of our cost optimization programme – Project LEAP ,just as Gross loans inched  up 8% to ₦563.0bn from ₦519.7bn in December of  2018, driven by increased risk asset creation across priority economic sectors.

Commenting on the results, Emeka Emuwa, CEO said:“Notwithstanding the realities of operating in a challenging economic environment, the Group delivered a 4% growth in Profit Before Tax (PBT) to ₦12.1 billion from ₦11.7 billion in H1 2018.

To sustain growth in earnings, we remained steadfast in our commitment to delivering value and first-class customer experience to all our customers. We have developed a concerted and clear plan to increase our risk assets with our loan book growing by 8% to ₦563.0 billion compared to year-end 2018. The ability to take on more risk is hinged on our robust risk management and debt recovery processes working in sync which led to recoveries of over N5 billion in the period.

We successfully closed our Series 3, 10 year ₦30 billion bond in June, as part of our ₦100 billion debt capital programme. This series, which was once again fully subscribed, is the largest 10-year bond issued by a Nigerian corporate to date. This further reinforces the confidence of the investor community in Union Bank. With this new injection of tier 2 capital, we are well positioned to deliver on our growth strategy and priorities.

Looking ahead, we will continue to focus on opportunities to deliver our simpler, smarter banking promise to our customers while improving internal operational efficiencies which will translate to enhanced shareholder value.”

 

Speaking on the H1 2019 numbers, Chief Financial Officer, Joe Mbulu said:

“In the first half of 2019, we continued with our expansion strategy to grow our agency banking footprint which in turn boosted customer confidence in our brand. Customer deposits have followed the same trajectory with a 4% growth, to ₦889.5 billion as at June 2019 from ₦857.6 billion in December 2018. Net Interest Income after Impairments is also up 3% to ₦30.5 billion compared to ₦29.7 billion in the same period in 2018.

 

With our aggressive focus on recoveries and improving asset quality, the Bank’s NPL ratio has continued its downward trend, declining to 7.3% from 8.1% as at December 2018 ahead of full year 2019 guidance. Improvement in asset quality has enabled us to grow our loan book optimally in the first half of 2019, positioning us with the ability to take on emerging opportunities in key sectors of the economy.

 

Having completed our Series 3 ₦30 billion funding, our Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) further strengthened, closing at 19.4% in June 2019 compared to 16.4% as at December 2018.

 

Our comprehensive cost optimisation programme, the Long-Term Efficiency Acceleration Programme (LEAP), has begun to yield dividends across board with operating expenses declining by 4% to ₦37.5 billion compared to ₦39.2 billion in H1 2018. We believe LEAP will continue to deliver material cost savings through 2019 and beyond, supporting our Cost-to-Income Ratio (CIR) ambition.”

 

 

 

Union Bank will host a conference call for investors, analysts and financial journalists on Tuesday July 30th, 2019 at 14:00 Lagos & London / 09:00 New York / 15:00 Johannesburg with its executive management team, to discuss the H1 2019 results and respond to questions. To participate in the call, please dial: