NNPC report

Seplat: Shareholders’ Approve Name Change …$344 million Dividend Paid Since 2014

Seplat logo
Seplat logo

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a leading Nigerian independent energy company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), held its hybrid 8th Annual General Meeting (AGM) with shareholders, auditors, regulators, company directors, and the media, amongst other stakeholders joining physically and virtually.

Addressing shareholders and other stakeholders during the AGM, Dr. ABC Orjiako, the Chairman of Board, Seplat, said the company’s cash position remained strong in the full-year of 2020 and the $318 million of cash it generated from operations was significantly more than the $150 million invested for future growth.
The company’s capital expenditure in the 2020 business year was higher than the $125 million spent in 2019, which demonstrates the company’s commitment to growth; as it voluntarily repaid $100 million of its Revolving Credit Facility and ended the year with $225 million in cash and net debt of $440 million.
The company’s average working interest production was 51,183boepd, including 33,714bopd of liquids and 101MMscfd gas (17,469boepd).
He said: “Of this, our Eland assets contributed 8,855bopd, or 26% of total liquid volumes. Our financial performance enabled us to maintain our commitment to paying dividends. While other companies were cutting back or cancelling payments for the 2019 financial year, because of prevailing uncertainties, we honoured our commitment and paid a final dividend of US$0.05, for a total dividend of US$0.10 for 2019.
“In October 2020, we announced an interim dividend of US$0.05 and the Board has since approved an additional top-up of US$0.05, maintaining our US$0.10 dividend for the 2020 financial year. Since we raised $535 million at our initial public offering in May 2014, we have returned $344 million to shareholders in the form of dividends.
“The strengthening of our Board is part of our ongoing desire to achieve world-class governance of our company. Six of our 13-member Board are independent and we continue to work towards increasing diversity. In addition, as we announced in March, we have taken the bold decision to eliminate all Related-Party Transactions – a move that exceeds the requirements of the UK Code of Corporate Governance.”
According to Dr. Orjiako, it is the responsibility of the Board to plan for the long-term sustainability of the company, as scenario analyses on Seplat’s assets have been conducted under different climate change and demand scenarios, whilst looking towards a future in which Seplat is much more involved in promoting low carbon environment in its operations and the company adopting Seplat Energy as its new name following the passage of the resolution at its AGM.“Such a transition will involve significant new innovations, technology, skills and relationships, compared to our existing expertise of subsurface exploration, drilling and hydrocarbon processing, but we are determined to be a major part of Nigeria’s future energy mix and help drive the country towards more sustainable energy generation,” the Seplat Chairman emphasized. 

He added: “Our ANOH Gas Processing Plant will be a major step forwards in Nigeria’s drive to reduce carbon emissions, replacing potentially millions of small-scale, inefficient, and polluting generators with cleaner utility-scale power generation fired by Nigeria’s natural gas. In addition, we intend to increase our disclosure of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data, by adopting the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and will commit to reporting CO2 emission data to the Carbon Disclosure Project in the near future.
“Helping our communities as part of our ESG commitment,5 is already apparent in the long-term projects we implement in our host communities. As the Covid-19 pandemic struck Nigeria, it was our duty to help our host communities and States in whatever ways we could.”
In the same vein, Mr. Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer, Seplat, said there is pressure to reduce oil extraction and the carbon emissions it creates; but that, he noted, depended on the rest of the world adopting less oil-intensive ways to travel and generate power.
He explained: “Nigeria’s per-capita energy consumption and carbon emissions are actually very low, and its national electricity grid is still very poorly developed. This is why the country is so reliant on small-scale diesel generation to satisfy its energy needs and this is the problem we need to address most urgently.
“It’s important to recognise that Nigeria is a developing country with low access to energy and a rapidly growing young population. Hydrocarbons are the country’s main resource and provide significant help for its economy. The proceeds from the oil industry fund a wide range of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are crucial to the country’s societal development.
“Nigeria needs to achieve significant growth in its capacity to deliver education and health services, food production and energy security. Without the development of its indigenous oil and gas industry these goals will become very difficult to achieve and so in Nigeria, the industry remains not just relevant but essential.”
According to Mr. Brown: “Seplat is embracing climate change opportunities on two fronts. Firstly, we continue to invest heavily in expanding our domestic gas business in line with the Government’s strategy to achieve universal access to electricity, and to make that energy cheaper and cleaner by replacing diesel generation, which is very damaging to the environment and the economy. Gas is clearly the next step for Nigeria, and we have a leading position domestically with the Nigerian Government declaring the ANOH project as one of the seven critical gas development projects for the country.
“Secondly, we have created a New Energy unit to focus on lower carbon to zero carbon fuel sources and the natural extension beyond gas is for Seplat to participate in renewable energy, such as solar power, and in emerging technologies such as carbon capture and storage. Our view is that Nigeria will benefit from being able to deploy renewable energy on its electricity grid rather than solely developing an off grid renewable solution. By providing a base load of cheaper, lower carbon gas on the grid, the acceleration of grid-based renewables will be possible, which is why we are currently focusing on accelerating our midstream gas business and additionally expanding into LPG, which is a good fuel source for cooking, preventing deforestation.”
“The priority for 2021 is to address our responsibilities as part of the global energy transition and to set realistic targets for how we as a company evolve to drive that transition along. Having survived the worst year in the history of the oil and gas industry, the actions we’ve taken before and during 2020 have left us in a position of strength and I am confident that as demand recovers and the imperative for gas increases, Seplat will exit 2021 a larger, stronger, more profitable company and strengthen its position as Nigeria’s indigenous energy leader.”
To this end, Mr. Emeka Onwuka, Chief Financial Officer, Seplat, said the company’s robust financial performance in 2020 demonstrated the importance of a prudent approach to managing its finances, focusing on capital allocation, revenue diversification, cost control, hedging and debt management.
He added: “Despite a challenging year, we repaid $100 million debt, invested $150 million for growth and maintained our dividend at $0.10 per share for the year.
“Financial sustainability begins with the decisions we make about capital allocation and the priorities we consider when using cash. Our aim has always been to maintain a healthy balance sheet, focusing on cash generation first and foremost so we can build up a large reserve for future deployment and protect ourselves against the kind of downturns the world experienced in 2020.

NGX Honours CIBN President With Closing Gong Ceremony

Dr. Olugbemi CIBN
Dr. Olugbemi CIBN

As part of activities to mark the 1st year anniversary of administration of Dr. Bayo Olugbemi as the 21st President/Chairman of Council, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, the Nigerian Exchange Group (NGX) hosted the Governing Council and Management of the Institute led by Dr. Olugbemi to a digital Closing Gong Ceremony on Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The event which also further strengthens the existing relationship between NGX and The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
Speaking at the ceremony, the CIBN President, Dr Olugbemi, congratulated Mr. Onyeama’s appointment as the Group Chief Executive, Nigerian Exchange Group and commended the NGX on the successful demutualization of the exchange group as well as appointments of Mr. Temi Popoola as the CEO of NGX and Ms. Tinuade Awe as CEO of NGX REGCO to support the vision to be “Africa’s preferred Exchange Hub”.
The CIBN President told over five hundred audiences who connected to the event across the globe through Zoom and YouTube that the banking industry would continue to partner with the NGX towards achieving its goals and objectives.
Dr. Olugbemi also besought the support of NGX for the proposed amendment of the CIBN Act of 2007, to enhance the power of the disciplinary tribunal to discipline erring bankers, among others. He also called for collaboration between NGX and CIBN Centre for Financial Studies to investigate the nexus between digital disruption, capital formation and the expansion of Nigerian Enterprise across Africa.

Dr Olugbemi retated the CIBN’s readiness to Collaborate with NGX Regulation and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Nigeria to enforce compliance of banks (market participants) with listing and trading rules as well as to promote ethical business practices in the Nigerian capital market conduct and particularly for the conduct of banks.
The CIBN further applauded the Exchange on Market capitalization which increased by 272.30% from N6.58 billion recorded in 2019 to N24.51 billion in 2020 and trade volumes increased by 218.23% from 4.15 million units in 2019 to 13.20 million units in 2020, and turnover skyrocketed by 51,830.59%.

Speaking further, he commended the Exchange for launching Exchange Traded Derivatives as NG Clearing Limited which has received approval in principle from the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) to launch clearing and settlement of exchange-traded derivative products as Nigeria’s premier Central Counterparty Clearing House (CCP) as well as accreditation of its X-Academy by CIBN.

The CIBN Boss expressed the Institute’s readiness to develop joint certifications programme with NGX on Investment Instruments, Trading Licenses and Enterprise Risk Management for Bankers respectively.

He therefore thanked the Nigerian Exchange Group for its consistent support for the realization of the Institute’s mandate of determining the standards of knowledge and skills to be attained by persons seeking to become members of the banking profession

Mr. Jude Chiemeka, Divisional Head, Trading Business, NGX representing the NGX Group CEO, Mr. Onyema, welcomed the Leadership and management of CIBN to the closing gong Ceremony with a view to build deeper synergy between Nigeria’s Capital and money market.

“Our ongoing partnership between the X-Academy and CIBN, where the X-Academy is an accredited training partner helping To build Capacity across the financial sector and we are indeed excited about the opportunities that further collaborations will present for us in light of our demutualization,” he said.

LCFE Lusting: Heritage Bank-Dukia Gold Set To Unlock N344trillion Market Worth Of Gold

L-R: Olawale Akoni (SAN), Managing Partner, Babalakin & Co; Olusegun Akanji, Divisional Head, Strategy & Business Solutions, Heritage Bank Plc; Ife Fashola, Group Chief Executive of KADARI Capital; Tunde Fagbemi, Chairman, Dukia Gold; Akin Akeredolu-Ale, MD of Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE) and Olusoji Elias, Council General, Dukia Gold, during the LCFE-Dukia Gold media parley at the LCFE Trading Floor in Lagos.
L-R: Olawale Akoni (SAN), Managing Partner, Babalakin & Co; Olusegun Akanji, Divisional Head, Strategy & Business Solutions, Heritage Bank Plc; Ife Fashola, Group Chief Executive of KADARI Capital; Tunde Fagbemi, Chairman, Dukia Gold; Akin Akeredolu-Ale, MD of Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE) and Olusoji Elias, Council General, Dukia Gold, during the LCFE-Dukia Gold media parley at the LCFE Trading Floor in Lagos.

Heritage Bank in collaboration with Dukia Gold & Precious Metals Refining Co. Limited is set to unlock the over N344trillion market worth of gold investible instruments in the solid minerals sector with concluded plans to listed on the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE).

This move that is expected to entrench and expand revenue in the non-oil sector through diversification, by stimulating growth in solid minerals in line with the objectives of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) will also put Nigeria on the global map with regards to standardized gold tracing, sourcing procurement and trading.

This disclosure was made at the LCFE-Dukia Gold media parley held at the LCFE Trading Floor in Lagos.

Speaking at the parley, Chairman of Dukia Gold, Tunde Fagbemi who commended Heritage Bank as the project financier and for its other pertinent supports, said Heritage had so far been the banker’s bank for playing key role in promoting the first solid mineral listing on the Exchange in West Africa.

Specifically, he explained that the instruments which would be in the form of Exchange Traded Notes (ETN), Commercial Papers (CP), and other gold-backed securities would enable the company to deepen the commodities market in Nigeria. He added that it would increase capacity, generate foreign exchange for the government to diversify revenue base and increase external reserves as well as create massive employment across the metal production value chain.

“We are proud to be the first gold company whose products would be listed on the Lagos Futures and Commodities Exchange. The listing shall enable us facilitate our infrastructure development, expand capacity and create fungible products.

“This has potential to shore up Nigeria’s foreign reserve and create an alternative window for preservation of pension funds.

“As a global player, we comply with the practices and procedures of London Bullion Market Association and many other international bodies. “Our refinery will also have multiplier effects on the development of rural areas anywhere it is located. “There must be constant power supply, good road network and other social amenities, apart from employment opportunities for the rural dwellers,” Fagbemi explained.

He also noted that with its current 25 production capacity pound and further room for expansion, Dukia Gold has the ability to meet both local and international demand through its gold refinery services to smelt melts.

Commenting on the collaboration, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo said that the partnership was one of the many initiatives of the bank’s foundational objectives of wealth creation, preservation and transfer across generations.

He further disclosed that the bank offers the gold commodity market three focal contact point in partnership and perspective sharing, which ensure that every transaction was auditable to protect investors.

Sekibo who was represented by the Divisional Head, Strategy and Business Solutions, of the Bank, Olusegun Akanji, said the bank had created a buying centre for verification of quality and quantity of gold and reference price to ensure price discovery in line with the global standard.

Speaking, the MD, LCFE, Akin Akeredolu-Ale, who also commended Heritage Bank for its critical role in aiding the fundraising and as the financier institution for the Dukia Gold’s diversified financial instruments, affirmed that this would enhance the company’s credibility rating and put Nigeria on the global map.

He noted that the LCFE was ready to support . the stakeholders in the gold sector in the areas of market creation, price discovery, and dissemination of market information, among others.

Gbenga Awe, Divisional Head, Agribusiness, Natural Resources & Project Devt., of Heritage Bank noted that one of the benefits of this initiative was that the local miners could now trade their gold at the bank’s designated experience centers, as solid foundation had been created for market, price and asset discovery.

Akintola noted that the firm had the capability, technicalities and the necessary accreditation to operate in the gold value chain.

He stated that the listing on the Lagos Commodities Exchange would raise awareness of performance of Dukia Gold to the investing world and position it as foremost number one Precious Metals Refining Company in Nigeria.

Despite Headwinds, Zenith Bank Grows Profit After Tax By 5% In Q1 2021

Zenith Bank
Zenith Bank

In a clear demonstration of its resilience, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its unaudited results for the first quarter ended 31st March 2021, with Profit After Tax (PAT) rising by 5% to N53.1 billion, from N50.5 billion recorded in March 2020. The increase was achieved despite the very challenging macroeconomic environment aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the unaudited statement of account presented to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday, 30th April 2021, the Group’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) also grew by 4%, from N58.8 billion to N61.0 billion in the same period.

The profitability was the direct result of optimisation of the cost of funds and improvement in non-interest income.
The Bank’s cost of funds reduced significantly from 2.6% in March 2020 to 1.1% in March 2021. This was also reflected in interest expense which dropped by 45% from N32.8 billion to N18.0 billion over the same period. Non-interest income increased by 10% from N46.6 billion to N51.2 billion, driven by growth in credit-related fees and fees on electronic products.

Non-interest income was boosted by the increase in fees and commission income, which resulted from the increased volume of transactions across all the Bank’s channels. Cost of risk dropped from 0.6% in March 2020 to 0.5% in March 2021, which affirms the Bank’s prudent risk management, even as gross loans increased by 2% from N2.92 trillion to N2.98 trillion in Q1 2021.

The Bank’s robust customer acquisition strategy and the effectiveness of its electronic platforms and digital channels enabled it to deliver a N54 billion increment in the savings account balance, which is solely retail. Customer deposits grew by 6% from N5.34 trillion in December 2020 to N5.68 trillion in March 2021. Transactions on electronic channels also grew astoundingly as new customers continue to be attracted to the Bank’s various user-friendly digital platforms.

Going forward in 2021, the Bank expects that the ongoing economic recovery and improvements in the yield environment will translate into improved numbers for the Group. This is expected to be supported by local and international COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, rising commodity prices, and global economic growth of up to 6%, as projected by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Group will continue to position itself to take advantage of positive developments in the domestic and global economy to deliver improved financial performance and returns to all its stakeholders.

Unity Bank Sustains Momentum, With 43% Jump In Profit In  Q1/2021

Tomi Somefun, MD, Unity Bank
Tomi Somefun, MD, Unity Bank

Nigeria’s foremost agric lender, Unity Bank Plc has sustained the growth momentum demonstrated in its 2020 full year earnings as it recorded an impressive performance of 43% in both profit before and after tax in Q1-2021.  

In the Bank’s unaudited Q1-2021 results submitted to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Friday, the retail lender’s Profit Before Tax grew by 43% to N784.3million from N550.1 million recorded in the corresponding period of 2020.

The Profit After Tax for the period which also grew by 43% stood at N721.5million compared to the N506.1million recorded in Q1-2020.

As an outcome of increased focus on supporting local enterprises and industry, the asset portfolio also showed a significant growth in loan book of 76% as net loans and advances to customers increased to N223.2billion up from N126.6billion recorded in the corresponding period.

The total assets of the Bank for the period showed an appreciable growth of 42% to close at N521.5 billion from N366.8 billion in the corresponding period of 2020. The balance sheet of the bank had been considerably de-risked with an NPL ratio of near zero per cent (0%) which it had consistently maintained over time, thus making the Bank to rank as one of the best in risk management and credit creation culture.

The Bank recorded gross earnings of N11.5billion, representing marginal decline of 3% when compared to N11.9billion posted in the corresponding period of 2020. The remarkable positive growth in profit and other strong indicators recorded in Q1-2021 is a sign of the Bank’s growing resilience as the economy continues on a recovery path following the impacts of COVID-19 pandemics.

Other key highlights of the Q1-2021 results included the cash and balances with the Central Bank which recorded a whopping 326% leap to close at N111.2billion from N26.1billion in the corresponding period of 2020.

The lender also grew its customer deposits by 13% to N348.3billion up from N308.8billion recorded in the period under review, a strong indication of the growing popularity and acceptance of the Bank’s array of innovative products and services and the arrays of new technologies deployed in its operations to enhance high level of customers’ experience and service delivery.

Interest and similar income also recorded a marginal increase of 1% to N9.7billion compared to N9.6 billion posted in the corresponding quarter of 2020. However, net interest income recorded a 16% increase to N4.8billion from N4.1billion in the corresponding period of 2020.

Total operating income also rose by 3% to N6.6billion from N6.4billion, even as the net operating income rose by 12% to close at N6.7billion from N5.9billion in the corresponding period of 2020.

Commenting on the result, the Managing Director/CEO, Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun said that the first quarter result is a promising indication of better outcome for the year, profoundly reflecting the Bank’s renewed focus on driving efficiency and productivity anchored on targeted initiatives to grow both volume and quality of assets and offer a wide range of customer-centric products supported by novel technologies to its teeming and growing customers in all the six-geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

The top-line performance was driven by improvement in net interest income margins which reported 16% growth. To this, Mrs. Somefun stated the Bank’s is replicating the same momentum in the area of liability generation and to gain traction, “we are targeting opportunities across regions and identified segments in retail and SMEs whilst optimising our technology and digital platforms such as Omni-channel UniFi, USSD *7799# to deliver bundled product bouquet, operational efficiency and improved unparalleled customer service delivery. Like the multi-language service channels, customers are to expect more innovations as the year unfolds”.

Looking ahead, the Unity Bank’s Chief further stated: “The Bank will consolidate on the gains it has made on its assets growth and further build the franchise of the brand in many areas of the business to shake off any lethargy to galvanize efficiency across its earning assets, thereby diversifying its earnings base to further grow the bottom-line”.

The Bank will thus continue to play formidably and efficiently in the area of its strength especially in the niche space of agribusiness to get more involved in the value chain banking having firmly established its strong foothold in the financing of primary crop production such as rice, maize, cotton, wheat, sorghum, etc. coupled with their rich and robust structures in value creation. In her words, “we hope to continue to expand on this as we play our part in driving the nations’s quest for self-sufficiency in food production, employment generation, foreign exchange conservation and all allied advantages that come with agribusiness.”

Analysts commend the Q1-2021 result for the strong fundamentals and for the positive outlook in the future, even as market confidence continues to reflect encouraging momentum and the steady growth of the Bank’s balance sheet.

Fidelity Bank Shareholders Approve 22 Kobo Dividend Per Share For FY2020

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FidelityBank Logo
Fidelity Bank Logo

he shareholders of Fidelity Bank Plc have unanimously endorsed the payment of a cash dividend of 22 kobo per share to all Shareholders whose names appear in the Register of Members at the close of business on April 16, 2021. This translates to a dividend yield of 9.2%, making it the 4th most rewarding Bank to investors in the Nigerian Capital Market.

This announcement was made at the 33rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Lagos on April 30, 2021.

Shareholders who spoke at the event commended the Board and management team for the 38.7 percent increase in total customer deposits, which increased from N1,225.2 billion in 2019FY to N1.699.0billion and was driven by strong double-digit growth in both local and foreign currency deposits.

Mustapha Chike-Obi, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Fidelity Bank, reassured shareholders at the AGM that the board and management of the bank would maintain the high corporate governance standard synonymous with Fidelity Bank and also ensure the bank continued in its growth trajectory in the years ahead.

“We will continue to strengthen our enterprise risk management capabilities to ensure the sustainability of our business, while modeling our governance practices to align with international best practice”, said Chike-Obi.

Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, Fidelity Bank CEO echoed the Chairman’s sentiments, stating that the bank’s financial performance for the period reflected the resilience of its business model in a challenging operating environment.

Mrs. Ikpe revealed that local currency deposits grew by 49.6 percent to N1,400.8 billion and constitutes 82.5 percent of total customer deposits while foreign currency deposits grew by 3.3 percent to N298.2 billion and now accounts for 17.5 percent of total deposits.

She further highlighted that the bank’s retail banking push continued to deliver impressive results as total savings deposits increased by 54.2 percent to N424.4 billion, making it the 8th consecutive year of recording double-digit growth in savings deposits. Total savings deposits now account for about 25.0 percent of total deposits, an attestation of the Bank’s increasing market share  in the retail market segment.

Speaking on the strategy for the current financial year, Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe, said, “We will continue to focus on redesigning our systems and processes to enhance service delivery, deepen our cost optimization initiatives to reduce operating expenses, and enhance our overall risk monitoring capabilities to ensure both internal and external risks are identified and mitigated. Our growth aspirations will be sustained while we continue to identify new opportunities in the new normal.

“On the back of the evolving dynamics in the economy, we will continue to increase the adoption and migration of customers to our digital platforms and increase our retail banking market share through innovative products and services”, she concluded.

The shareholders expressed their continued confidence in the Bank for its 2020 performance which saw a 50.9 percent increase in core operating profit to N44.9 billion. The share price also rallied 22.9 per cent, outperforming the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) Index, which only gained 10.1 percent. According to Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe, the Bank showed “strong resilience to the adversities the global economy witnessed in 2020”.

Speaking at the meeting, Dr Farouk Umar, President, Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigeria Shareholders, commended the bank for posting encouraging performance in 2020 despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Umar appreciated the bank for paying dividend the same day of the Annual General Meeting unlike their peers in the industry that pay dividends a day after the AGM. Also speaking, Mrs Bisi Bakare, National Coordinator, Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, commended the bank for declaring dividend in spite of unfriendly economic environment and the COVID-19 pandemic challenges. Bakare who welcomed Mrs. Onyeali-Ikpe and Mr. Chike- Obi, urged them to sustain the growth and ensure higher dividend in the years ahead.

In compliance with the guidelines of the Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC), the meeting was held by proxy and had in attendance very few shareholders because of the COVID-19 precautionary measures.

Onyeali-Ikpe thanked the shareholders and the members of the Board for their continued confidence in the management team and specially appreciated Fidelity Bank customers for their patronage and loyalty.

Fidelity Bank began the year on a positive note having recorded a strong financial performance in the first quarter of 2021, posting appreciable growth in profit for the period ended March 31, 2021.

Details of the unaudited results showed that its profit before tax (PBT) grew by 53.9 per cent from N6.6 billion in the corresponding period in 2020 to N10.1 billion in the period under review. Similarly, net revenue in the period increased by 13.4 per cent from N30.3 billion in the first quarter (Q1) 2020, to N34.4 billion at the end of March 2021. The bank also recorded growth in other performance indices.

Seplat, Board Chairman Win Most Profitable Company, Board Chairman Of The Year

Dr. A.B.C Orjiako, Chairman SEPLAT
Dr. A.B.C Orjiako, Chairman SEPLAT

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc has emerged the Most Profitable Company (Oil & Gas: Exploration and Production), with Dr. ABC Orjiako, Chairman SEPLAT emerging the Board Chairman of the Year at the Nigerian Investor Value Award (NIVA) organized by BusinessDay Media Limited in conjunction with the Nigerian Exchange Limited.

As the Most Profitable Company (Oil & Gas: Exploration and Production), SEPLAT was recognized for recording the highest percentage growth in profits year-on-year in its sector. The Company was said to have achieved this feat, while experiencing faster growth relative to its peers, and maintaining a relatively high operating performance.

“In 2020, like in previous years, SEPLAT has shown that its high profit margins are sustainable. Its strong profit position is not a flash in the pan, neither is it likely to be frittered away in coming years. This consistency has enabled the company to pay dividends regularly, service debts taken for recent strategic acquisitions, and underwrite new investments, while maintaining positive credit ratings,” the organizers explained.

In the same vein, the Board Chairman of the Year award recognizes a non-executive chairman or lead director who has demonstrated a passion for advancing the principles of good governance. Dr. Orjiako, according to the award organizers, have demonstrated the ability to objectively solve the most difficult boardroom challenges, with the proven experience to offer independent, sound guidance when the company faces hurdles and opportunities.

“Dr. A.B.C. Orjiako is selected as the winner of this award for leading the board of directors to set a strong corporate governance culture, and support for the executive management team in the enhancement of economic value with drive for Nigeria’s energy transition to gas fueling 30 per cent of Nigeria’s electricity supply,” the organizers noted.

The SEPLAT Chairman was said to have distinguished himself by: superintending a seamless CEO transition with the exit of Mr. Austin Avuru, who completed a very successful tenure, and appointment of Mr. Roger Brown; overseeing the selection of a new Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Mr. Emeka Onwuka, who is a seasoned executive that brings experience from the highest levels in financial services to his new position.

He was said to have supported the Board refreshment with the onboarding of Mr. Olivier de Langavant, CEO of Maurel & Prom as a Non-Executive Director, following the retirement of Mr. Michel Hochard, who also represented the interests of Maurel & Prom; as well as the Board’s commitment to payment of dividends despite COVID-19 and sharp drop in global energy demand.

In the same year, the Board of Directors of the company also appointed Ms. Arunma Oteh and Mr. Xavier Rolet as independent non-executive directors.

The award also lauded Dr. Orjiako’s presentation of one of the most lucid Chairman’s letters in recent history by educating shareholders on the company’s operating environment, choices, strategy, and opportunities in a style that is both engaging, and transparent; and leading the board-approved plan to eliminate Related-Party Transactions (RPTs), surpassing even United Kingdom regulations on RPTs.

In his address, the Chief Executive Officer, the Nigerian Exchange Limited, Temi Popoola, said the list of companies awarded showed a display of extraordinary courage and strength in a very challenged time.

In his remark, the Publisher, BusinessDay Media Limited, Mr. Frank Aigbogun, said the awards were indeed apt given the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic last year. According to him, the award recognized organisations that had displayed resilience and tact in the midst of adversity and uncertainty.

Commenting on the awards, the Director, External Affairs and Communications at SEPLAT, Dr. Chioma Nwachuku, on behalf of the Board, management and staff of the Company, thanked BusinessDay and the Nigerian Exchange for the honour and recognition accorded SEPLAT. She expressed the Company’s appreciation, saying the awards highlight the hard work and resilience displayed in the 2020 business year despite the challenges posed by Covid-19.

Dr. Nwachuku added: “Since inception, SEPLAT has continued to strive for operational excellence and sustainable value creation for all our stakeholders. The awards will continue to propel SEPLAT to greater achievements.”

CSCS Bags Market Choice Award, Celebrated For Counterparty Trust Assurances, Commitment To Market Efficiency

MD/CEO, CSCS, Plc, Haruna Jalo-Waziri receiving the Market Choice Award from Alhaji Tajudeen Aminu Dantata, Chairman/CEO of Dantata Foods and Allied Products Limited (DFAP); while from L-R are Mrs. Yetunde Adenaiya, Head, HR, Mrs. Onome Komolafe, Divisional Head, Shared Services; and Elder UK Eke, MFR, GMD, FBN Holdings Plc during the presentation of the Award to CSCS Plc at the Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA) 2021  
MD/CEO, CSCS, Plc, Haruna Jalo-Waziri receiving the Market Choice Award from Alhaji Tajudeen Aminu Dantata, Chairman/CEO of Dantata Foods and Allied Products Limited (DFAP); while from L-R are Mrs. Yetunde Adenaiya, Head, HR, Mrs. Onome Komolafe, Divisional Head, Shared Services; and Elder UK Eke, MFR, GMD, FBN Holdings Plc during the presentation of the Award to CSCS Plc at the Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA) 2021

The Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, Nigeria’s capital market infrastructure, bagged the prestigious Market Choice award and celebrated for its outstanding counterparty trust assurance, broad asset class coverage, enhanced collaboration with market participants and its commitment to market efficiency and growth at the Nigerian Investor Value Awards (NIVA), which took place over the weekend, in Lagos.

Stakeholders in the Nigerian capital market extoled CSCS and its leadership for resilience and continuous investment in market-wide initiatives aimed at ensuring the mutual prosperity of all stakeholders.

The event, previously known as the Top CEOs and Next Bulls Awards, has been jointly organized by BusinessDay and the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) since 2015. It was conceived as a platform to celebrate the CEOs of listed companies that have delivered superior value to investors through operating efficiencies, organizational values, and market engagement activities.

The Awards was further expanded to include the CEOs of carefully vetted non-listed companies that could fill a pipeline of initial public offering candidates, particularly companies in which active and informed investors have expressed a strong demand to own their shares if their shareholders decide to take them public.

While receiving the award, Chief Executive Officer of CSCS Plc, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, said the award was a call for continuous improvement and a boost to CSCS’ tenacious commitment to delivering on market-efficiency initiatives.

According to him, “My colleagues and I would like to dedicate this award to our esteemed participants, whose loyalty, support and constructive feedbacks continue to enhance our operations and broader service to the Nigerian capital market. As we relish this recognition of CSCS as the “Market Choice”, we reiterate our kaizen philosophy of continuous improvement and restate our enthusiasm in furthering our partnerships with esteemed participants and broader stakeholders in our quest for mutual prosperity and in our drive towards enhancing market efficiency and growth.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude to our regulator, the Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the Board of Directors of CSCS for their diligent oversight and for ensuring sound governance which I believe is essential to every corporate’s sustainability and long-term value creation.”

“To my colleagues, some of whom are here with me to receive this award, I say well done but I would continue to remind you that the reward of good work is more work. I know the stakes are higher as we have set new benchmarks, albeit I am more than ever optimistic in our capacity to do more and work with our participants in delivering better experience and value to investors in the Nigerian capital market.”, Jalo-Waziri added.

Over the past three years, the ordinary shares of CSCS, though not yet llisted on the floor of the NGX, actively trades on the Nigerian Autonomous Securities Dealers Over-the-Counter (NASD-OTC) Exchange and has emerged as the most liquid and attractive stock on the NASD-OTC. Last Friday, for instance, CSCS gained 65 kobo or 4.1 per cent to close at N16.65 per unit, consolidating its year-to-date gain to 10.6%, compared to the current bearish performance of equities. More so, the shares of CSCS has rallied 93% over the past three years, in addition to the company growing its dividend payment by 36% over the same period.

Remarkably, a total of 1.64 billion units of CSCS’ shares, valued at N27.06 billion (based on current valuation of N16.50 per share) and representing 38.8% or one-third of the total shares outstanding of the company have been traded over the past three years. The liquidity of the shares is notwithstanding the fact that the top-5 largest shareholders closely hold about two-third of the company’s shares.

The liquidity of the shares of CSCS on the NASD-OTC platform reinforces the strong appetite and demand of retail and institutional shareholders to own CSCS’ shares. In addition to the steady bull run on the share price, CSCS’ steady dividend payment has been a major attraction to investors, who seek stable return on investments.

Fidelity Bank Grows Profit 53.9% In Q1, 2021

Fidelity Bank Plc
Fidelity Bank Places

Top Nigerian lender, Fidelity Bank Plc has recorded a strong financial result in the first quarter of 2021, with significant growth in profits for the period ended 31 March 2021.

Details of the unaudited results, made available to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) shows that Profit before Tax (PBT) grew by 53.9% from N6.6bn in 2020 to N10.1bn in the corresponding period ended March 31, 2021.  Similarly, Net Revenue in the period increased by 13.4% from N30.3bn in Q1 2020 to N34.4bn in 2021, just as the bank recorded growth in other performance indices.l

According to the report, Fidelity Bank’s Gross Earnings grew 7.7% Year-on-Year (YoY) to N55.1bn following a 66.7% growth in Non-Interest Revenue (NIR) to N12.1bn from N7.2bn in Q1 2020.  “In absolute terms, the increase in NIR came from Forex (FX) related income, digital banking income and account maintenance charge etc. as total customers’ induced transactions across all our service channels increased by 30.4% YoY and 17.1% QoQ.”

Further analysis of the Report indicates that Net Interest Margin remained unchanged at 6.3% compared to previous year as the drop in average funding cost offset the decline in average yields on earning assets. Average funding cost dropped to 2.5% from 3.6% in 2020 due to a combination of improved deposit mix and a slight moderation in average borrowing cost. This led to 26.2% decline in total interest expenses, and a 17.1% increase in net interest income to N28.8bn, despite a 4.3% increase in interest bearing liabilities.

” We refinanced our 7-Yr N30.0bn Tier II Bonds issued in 2015 at 16.48% p.a.  with cheaper 10-Yr N41.2bn Tier II Bonds priced at 8.5% p.a., which led to a 61bpts drop in average borrowing cost to 4.5%. Operating Expenses increased by N1.3bn (6.2%) to N23.0bn largely driven by N4.3bn growth in regulatory charges (NDIC & AMCON Charges).” The report noted.

Retail Banking continued to deliver impressive results as savings deposits increased by 4.1% YTD to N441.6bn and we are on course to achieving the 9th consecutive year of double-digit growth in savings deposits. Savings deposits was responsible for 32.9% of the absolute growth in total deposits and now accounts for 25.2% of total deposits compared to 25.0% in 2020.

Net Loans and Advances increased by 7.6% YTD to N1.43tn from N1.33tn recorded in 2020. However, the actual growth was 6.8% while the impact of the currency adjustment (2020FY: N400.3/$ – Q1 2021: N407.6/$) accounted for a 0.8% YTD growth in the loan book. Cost of risk came in at 0.4% and the Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio dropped to 3.6% from 3.8% in 2020FY.

“Total Deposits increased by 3.1% Year-to-date (YTD) to N1.75tn from N1.69tn in the preceding year, driven by 5.5% increase in low cost deposits (Demand: 6.2% | Savings: 4.1%). Foreign currency deposits increased by 15.7% YTD (N46.9bn) and now accounts for 19.7% of total deposits from 17.5% in 2020FY, as we harness the benefits of our renewed drive in Diaspora Banking as well as the recent CBN Naira-for-Dollar Incentive Scheme for diaspora remittances to Nigeria.” The report read.

Other Regulatory Ratios remained above the required thresholds with liquidity ratio at 33.9% and capital adequacy ratio (CAR) at 18.4% from 18.2% in 2020FY.

Commenting on the results, the MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said the bank would continue with the growth trajectory while adhering to its business model. In her words: “We commenced the year showing impressive double-digit growth in profitability and improved performance across key efficiency indices whilst ensuring our business model continued to deliver strong positive results in line with our guidance for the 2021 financial year.”

SEC Reminds CMOs On KYC Update

DG, SEC, Lamido Yuguda
DG, SEC, Lamido Yuguda

Capital Market Operators have been reminded of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s directives on update of investors’ Know Your Customer information which it said is still in effect.

This was stated by the Director General of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda at the First Post Capital Market Committee Meeting press briefing held in Abuja Weekend.

According to the DG, “We have noted that the level of compliance has been low. Despite several engagements, we realized that as at April 8, 2021, there were still 4,012,311 (Four million, twelve thousand, three hundred and eleven) accounts with incomplete KYC information.
“This exercise is critical to deepening the participation of retail investors and we direct all CMOs to accord it the highest level of priority”.

Yuguda disclosed that a major highlight of the year 2021 is the reintroduction of periodic renewal of registration by Capital Market Operators.

He said the rationale for this is to ensure that operators in the market are fit and proper at all times and to strengthen the supervision and monitoring activities of the Commission.