NNPC report

Access Bank Records ₦764.7bn Gross Earnings In FY 2020

Herbert Wigwe, GMD, Access Bank
Herbert Wigwe, GMD, Access Bank

Despite a challenging economic and regulatory landscape, Access Bank PLC has announced gross earnings of ₦764.7bn for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.

The Bank’s audited gross earnings shows a 15% improvement from the ₦666.75bn posted for the comparative period of 2019. While the Bank’s Profit Before Tax stood at ₦125.9bn, it also posted a non-interest income of ₦275.5bn, a significant 112% y/y growth from 2019. This is despite the cost of operating its enlarged franchise.
According to Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director and CEO of Access Bank PLC, the institution’s resilient performance “is testament to the effectiveness of our strategy and capacity to generate sustainable revenue.”
“The strategic actions that the Bank has taken over the past 12 months evidence a strong focus on retail banking and financial inclusion, an African expansion strategy and a drive for scale for sustainable value creation. In 2020, Access Bank proudly opened its doors for business in Kenya and Mozambique, further increasing our footprints across the African Continent. Access Bank Zambia also concluded the acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited in January 2021 and the Group recently announced the approval by relevant regulatory authorities for the acquisition of Grobank Limited, creating an inroad into the South African market in realization of the Group’s strategic ambitions.
In view of the opportunities that exist in the market, we will be transitioning to a HoldCo structure. The Bank has received the Approval-In-Principle from the Central Bank of Nigeria for the restructuring and the HoldCo will consist of 4 subsidiaries in order to tap into the market opportunities that are available in the consumer lending market, electronic payments industry and retail insurance market. Going into the fourth year of our 5-year cyclical strategy, our focus remains on consolidating our retail momentum and expanding our African footprint in a sustainable manner,” Wigwe said.
Access Bank PLC recorded a consistent growth in its retail banking business, reporting a 5.8mn growth in customer sign-on during the year through our financial inclusion efforts. This increase in customer base led to a retail revenue of ₦177.2bn, a 64.4% increase from its FY 2019 figures of ₦107.8bn. The Bank’s customer deposits also grew by 31% to ₦5.59trn in Dec 2020 with savings account deposits standing at ₦1.31trn. Similarly, net loans and advances grew by 18% to ₦3.61trn in comparison to its FY 2019 figures of ₦3.06trn.
As the Bank intensified recovery efforts, undertook significant write off and leveraged its robust risk management practices, its asset quality improved to 4.3% compared to its 2019 report of 5.8% and this is expected to continue to trend downwards as it strives to surpass the standard it had built in the industry prior to the merger with Diamond Bank.

FBN Holdings Announce N89.7b Profit For 2020 Year End

FirstBank Holdings Uk-Eke
FBN Holdings Uk-Eke

FBN Holdings Plc has announced a profit of N89.7 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2020.

This figure which represents an increase of 21.8 per cent over the figure achieved in the corresponding period of 2019l, the Holding company explained on Thursday, was higher when compared with N73.7 billion achieved in 2019.

According to FBN Holdings, operating income closed the year at N426.3 billion as against N417.5 billion in 2019.
Although there was a marginal drop in gross earnings by 1.9 per cent from N590.4 billion in the previous year to N579.4 billion as the end of the 2020 financial year, the company’s total assets rose by 23.9 per cent to N7.7 trillion when compared with N6.2 trillion achieved in the corresponding period of 2019.

Also, customers deposits grew to N4.89 trillion, up from N4.02 trillion posted in the previous year.

According to FBN Holdings the 1.9 per cent drop in gross earnings was the result of a 10.9 per cent year-on-year decline in interest income to N384.8 billion as against N431.9 billion recorded in 2019. It notes that this was occasioned by the drop in government securities which declined on the short and long end of the yield curve.

Commenting on the result, Group Managing Director, Urum Eke said the company was pleased to close the year in a healthy note despite the difficult operating environment.

“FBNHoldings is pleased to close the year in a healthy financial position despite the difficult operating environment that has been characterized by unprecedented events as a result of the pandemic and challenging economic environment.

“As part of our strategic planning cycle, which is in the second year, we exited the insurance underwriting business through the sale of our interest in FBNInsurance to our long-term partner, the Sanlam Group. This decision is consistent with our portfolio optimisation strategy, underscored by the renewed focus on deepening our foothold in the banking sector through increased investment in digitalisation, innovation, and expansion in financial services for  the benefit of our existing and new customers. The proceeds from the sale have been injected in First Bank of Nigeria to strengthen the core business of the Group and drive further market growth.

“Five years ago, we outlined our strategy to diversify our income stream by boosting non-interest income through a transaction-led banking model. We believe this decision reduced the burden on our customers during the lockdown by providing seamless access to banking service, as well as, support the effort of the Government and other donor agencies to reach Nigerians with the COVID-19 support programs.

“During the year 2020, Profit before tax grew 11.2% y-o-y to ₦ 83.7 billion and our non-interest income recorded a growth of 26.7% y-o-y to ₦ 174.7 billion. These results were despite the challenging environment evidenced by the decline in fixed income rates and higher cash reserve requirements leading to a 10.9% y-o-y decline in interest income to ₦ 384.8 billion. However, we mitigated the impact on net interest income by containing interest expense through reducing the cost of deposit and driving low-cost deposits.

“We remain focused on driving operating expenses down and improving cost to income ratio. In 2020, operating expense was up marginally by 0.5% y-o-y growing significantly slower than inflation. Notwithstanding, our strategy is to continue to deploy the two-pronged approach of driving revenue through the transaction-led banking model, whilst implementing initiatives geared towards containing operating cost, to help reduce the cost to income ratio.

“ I am also delighted with the improved risk management processes and architecture which continues to yield positive results. Consistent with our commitment to a single-digit NPL to the market, we further reduced the ratio to 7.7% (Dec 2019: 9.9%).

“ Overall, whilst these developments represent significant progress in our journey to reposition the Group, over the planning cycle, we will be increasing the pace of implementation of our mid-range initiatives including the optimisation of our portfolio to extract increased value from existing assets, and evaluating options to support our vision of remaining dominant in the financial services industry in Africa.”

The Rise Fund To Invest $200 million In Airtel Africa’s Mobile Money Business,


Airtel Africa, a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries across Africa, has announced the signing of an agreement under which ‘The Rise Fund’, the global impact investing platform of leading alternative investment firm TPG, will invest $200 million in Airtel Mobile Commerce BV (“AMC BV”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Airtel Africa plc.

AMC BV is currently the holding company for several of Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations; and is now intended to own and
operate the mobile money businesses across all of Airtel Africa’s fourteen operating countries.
The Transaction values Airtel Africa’s mobile money business at $2.65 billion on a cash and debt free basis. The Rise Fund will hold a minority stake in AMC BV upon completion of the Transaction, with Airtel Africa continuing to hold the remaining majority stake. The Transaction is subject to customary closing conditions including necessary regulatory filings and approvals, as necessary,
and the inclusion of specified mobile money business assets and contracts into AMC BV.
The Transaction is the latest step in the Group’s pursuit of strategic asset monetization and investment opportunities, and it is the aim of Airtel Africa to explore the potential listing of the mobile money business within four years.

The Group is in discussions with other potential investors in relation to possible further minority investments into Airtel Money, up to a total of 25% of the issued
share capital of AMC BV.

The proceeds from the Transaction will be used to reduce Group debt and invest in network and sales infrastructure in the respective operating countries.
Airtel Africa mobile money services
Operating under the Airtel Money brand, Airtel Africa’s mobile money services is a leading digital mobile financial services platform catering to a large addressable market in Africa (characterised by
limited access to formal financial institutions with limited banking infrastructure) and includes
mobile wallet deposit and withdrawals, merchant and commercial payments, benefits transfers, loans and savings, virtual credit card and international money transfers.
Mobile money services are available across the Group’s 14 countries of operation, however in Nigeria the Group offers Airtel Money services through a partnership with a local bank and has applied for its own mobile banking licence. It is the intention that all mobile money operations will
be owned and operated by AMC BV.
In its most recent reported results for Q3, the mobile money service segment that are intended to be transferred to AMC BV) delivered a strong operational performance: Generating revenue of $110 million ($440 million annualised), and underlying EBITDA of $54 million ($216 million annualised) at a margin of 48.7%. Year on year revenue growth for the quarter was 41.1% in constant currency, largely driven by 29% growth in the customer base to 21.5 million, and 9.7% ARPU growth.

The Transaction is expected to reach first close over the next three to four months from first close
The Rise Fund will be entitled to appoint a director to the board of AMC BV and to certain customary information and minority protection rights.

Commenting, Raghunath Mandava, CEO of Airtel Africa, said “In line with our vision of enhancing financial inclusion, Airtel Africa offers a unique digital mobile financial services platform under the Airtel Money brand. In most of our markets there is limited access to traditional financial institutions, and little banking infrastructure, with less than half of the population having a bank account across sub-Saharan Africa. Our markets therefore afford substantial market potential for mobile money services to meet the needs of the tens of millions of customers in Africa who have little or no access to banking and financial services, and this demand is driving growth.
With today’s announcement we are pleased to welcome The Rise Fund as an investor in our mobile money business and as a partner to help us realise the full potential from the substantial opportunity to bank the unbanked across Africa.”
Yemi Lalude, Partner at TPG who leads Africa investing for The Rise Fund, added: “Financial inclusion is a global issue that is most acute in Africa. Through Airtel Money, Airtel Africa has built a unique platform that is closing the gap between traditional financial institutions and the millions of unbanked Africans across the 14 countries where Airtel Africa operates. We look forward to working with Airtel Africa to enhance their mobile money services, broaden its use cases, and grow into new markets. With this investment in Airtel Africa’s mobile money operations, we are
excited to expand The Rise Fund’s global fintech portfolio and continue to deepen our focus on improving financial inclusion in Africa and around the world.”

Seplat, Strongly Committed To Positively Impacting Environment, People And Values


Roger Brown

Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a leading Nigerian independent energy company has  expressed strong commitment to deploying resources and expertise to create and deliver sustainable value to meet the expectations of its various stakeholders through a responsible approach in the management of the Company’s Environment Social, and Governance (ESG) imperatives.

lListed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), the company believes in driving operational excellence in optimizing benefits to society and minimizing the negative impacts of its activities whilst making significant contributions towards sustainable development and pursuing continuous improvements in its Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to ensure a better world without losing focus on the future generations.

Mr. Roger Brown, Chief Executive Office at SEPLAT said this at the Facts Behind the Sustainability Report presentation made to the Nigerian Stock exchange (NSE) on Tuesday in a virtual session.

According to Brown, SEPLAT’s sustainability policy is based on the following principles: Commitment to transparent and complete disclosure of our ESG performance; encouraging responsible use of resources – energy, water and others; implementing human rights and gender equality; needs assessment of stakeholders to identify appropriate solutions; considering natural and cultural circumstances of SEPLAT’s host communities in the implementation of CSR initiatives; and setting science-based targets to deliver on environmental footprint.

In addition, the SEPLAT CEO added: “We adopt an inclusive stakeholder management approach; integrate sustainability into our core business model and strategy; embed Sustainability concept and practice companywide; operate the highest standard of corporate governance; leverage on stakeholder engagement in determining materiality; and exhibit a strong belief in our shared Value philosophy.”

He noted that the Company is strongly driving Nigeria’s transition to gas, delivering significant environmental, economic and social benefits that support United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

On SEPLAT’s response to Climate Change, he said the Company is strongly adhering to its flare out campaign to reduce carbon footprint, and has gone ahead to establish a science-based assessment of our Greenhouse Gases emissions and reporting, adding that SEPLAT is currently investing in new infrastructure and R&D to help capture some of the emissions not previously reported.

Brown explained: “We are developing a Carbon Calculator for continuous sustainable deployment to highlight the most negative carbon emission activities. Our investments in gas at Oben, Sapele and ANOH is aimed at reducing GHG emissions.

“SEPLAT has created a new energy group to manage our midstream gas business and explore the adoption of renewable energy.”

According to him, SEPLAT’s operations impact a wide range of stakeholders; as the Company has continued to deploy proactive and effective stakeholder engagement framework, identify and classify stakeholders and their expectations, build mutually beneficial relationship with stakeholders, engage its stakeholders regularly and consistently, and deliver consistently on our Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU) commitments.

He explained that SEPLAT has invested extensively on development of local suppliers, of which over 98 per cent of materials are sourced from Nigeria; adding that: “We have a deliberate policy of encouraging local contractors in the award of some jobs. The Company takes the issue of local content delivery seriously.”

Over the years, SEPLAT has: improved economic empowerment of women and youths with customised empowerment programme; sustained skills acquisition program for youths in its communities whilst creating jobs and developing local suppliers. The Company has also improved access to quality education through customized CSR programmes, improved community infrastructure development, engaged 534 employees in its Nigerian and UK locations.

In his address, Oscar N. Onyema, the NSE Chief Executive Officer, congratulated SEPLAT CEO and the Company for the robust achievements and strides in the sustainability journey.

The NSE CEO who urged companies to learn from SEPLAT, said reporting sustainability could help organisations create a sustainable future.

Onyema noted that there is a recognized need for enhanced levels of corporate transparency on Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), and as an exchange “we are well positioned to encourage and even require listed companies to produce better sustainability reports that are issued consistently and with comparable information.”

On governance, Brown said SEPLAT operates with the highest standard of corporate governance, with the Board oversight of all sustainability issues and the CSR Board sub-committee having direct oversight of sustainability issues. This is in strict compliance with SEPLAT’s corporate governance policy and companywide compliance with the Code of Business Conduct.

Also speaking, the Divisional Head, Trading Business at the NSE, Jude  Chiemeka, said sustainability is a journey and various companies are in their different stages of achievement and reporting.

He said the NSE will continue to promote global best practices as is seen in sustainability reporting, whilst also encouraging companies to do likewise.

The SEPLAT CEO explained: “We respect rights of employees, community people and their culture. We maintain a non-discriminatory posture in recruitment devoid of gender, religion, tribe or other such considerations, and adhere to national and international labour laws and protocols.”

Commenting on the Company’s adherence to best practices, Brown said: “We adhere to relevant international standards and protocols such as the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against, International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Board decision from inception on complete and transparent disclosure annually via Sustainability Report, Creation of a new function of Research & Sustainability Department to focus on ESG monitoring and reporting.”

NSE Concludes Demutualisation  With SEC, CAC Approvals

Nig. Stock Exchange

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) has received final approvals of its demutualisation plan from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)

respectively. With these approvals, The Exchange has now completed its demutualisation process.
Under the demutualisation plan, a new non-operating holding company, the Nigerian Exchange Group Plc
(‘NGX Group’) has been created. The Group will have three operating subsidiaries, namely: Nigerian Exchange
Limited (NGX Limited), the operating exchange; NGX Regulation Limited (NGX REGCO), the independent
regulation company; and NGX Real Estate Limited (NGX RELCO), the real estate company. All the entities
have been duly registered at the CAC.
Otunba Abimbola Ogunbanjo, NSE Council President, said: “Successful demutualisation was one of my
fundamental objectives when I assumed the Presidency of The Exchange. The SEC’s decision today to
approve the NSE’s demutualisation plans brings this aspiration to a successful conclusion in a process that
included the passage of the Demutualisation Act through the National Assembly. We are elated that this
milestone has been achieved as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the commencement of trading at the
Exchange and now look forward to the future public listing of its shares on NGX Limited. On behalf of the
NSE, I would like to warmly thank all those that have worked assiduously to achieve this watershed event on
our journey to make the NSE a multifaceted exchange that extends across various markets and geographical
The approvals by the SEC and CAC signify that the NSE can now activate its Transition Plan to a new
operational structure and holding company. The extensive Transition Plan, taking the Group and its
subsidiaries through to full Operational Launch, covers legal and practical changes to enable the functioning
of the new corporate structure, with no loss of service and a seamless transition for market participants. The
Transition Plan will also see the inauguration of Boards for each of the new entities, staff reallocation to their
respective functions within the operating subsidiaries, operationalisation of business plans and budgets,
technology systems transfer, and the requisite arm’s length agreements between the entities. Upon
Operational Launch, the Group’s new brands, including a new website, will be unveiled and the Group will
be in position to execute on its strategic vision. Stakeholders, including our new valued shareholders will
benefit from The Group’s enhanced Corporate Governance framework, access to capital to fund strategic
developments and a more globally competitive Exchange.
The approvals also enable the shares of NGX Group Plc, which have been registered with the SEC, to be
allotted to the membership pursuant to the Court approved Scheme of Arrangement. Ahead of its listing on
NGX Limited, the shares of NGX Group Plc will be available for bilateral trades to be executed in line with
extant rules and regulations of the Nigerian capital market. Otunba Ogunbanjo will serve as the inaugural
Chairman of NGX Group Plc’s Board of Directors.
Oscar N. Onyema, the new Group CEO of NGX Group Plc, said: “The Nigerian capital markets should play a
role commensurate with Nigeria’s status as Africa’s largest economy. At the Nigerian Stock Exchange, we
have a vision that the new group will become the premier exchange hub for Nigerian businesses and for the
African economy. We are implementing a series of measures towards this goal, demutualisation being a
critical milestone. The completion of demutualisation is a truly significant moment, and we welcome the new
possibilities that have opened up for us today.”
Demutualisation of the NSE is pivotal in that it creates new strategic opportunities that will enable the Group
realise its vision of becoming Africa’s leading capital market infrastructure provider. The creation of a holding
company and a new capital structure will also enable NGX Group Plc to form new dynamic relationships,
drive strategic partnerships and gain capital raising flexibility. It will be recalled that NSE members approved
at its last AGM, the listing by introduction of NGX Group Plc on NGX Limited

FMDQ Registers Fidson Healthcare PLC ₦10.00 billion Commercial Paper

FMDQ​FMDQ a wholly owned subsidiary off FMDQ Holdings PLC FMDQ Group has through its Board Listings, Markets and Technology Committee, approved the Registration of the Fidson Healthcare PLC ₦10.00 billion Commercial Paper (“CP”) Programme on its platform as part of its commitment to the continuous development of the Nigerian financial market, in collaboration with market stakeholders,

This milestone for Fidson Healthcare PLC,a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing company in Nigeria, has seen it join other corporate institutions across various sectors of the economy, to not only raise capital to support its business operations, but to also enjoy the benefits of visibility, transparency and liquidity that come with FMDQ’s Quotation Service. Fidson, which runs a ‘Current Good Manufacturing Practice’ (cGMP) Compliant facility, is crafting an exemplary architecture for the Nigerian pharmaceutical industry by playing defining roles in the emergence of a new generation of industry players, as the importance of the pharmaceutical industry to the prosperity of the global economy cannot be overemphasised.

In a statement provided by the Chief Financial Officer, Fidson Healthcare PLC, Imokha Ayebae, he said, “We are glad about the successful registration of Fidson Healthcare PLC’s ₦10.00 billion CP Programme on the FMDQ platform. This is particularly significant as it coincides with the company’s 26th anniversary on March 1, 2021. Since its inception in 1995, Fidson Healthcare PLC has remained committed to the growth of the healthcare sector in Nigeria. This strategic move aligns with our vision to be the preferred healthcare provider as a leading player in the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry in Nigeria and West Africa. The CP Programme, which is poised to further broaden the company’s sources of capital by accessing funding from the Nigerian debt capital markets, will also reduce our overall funding costs. Proceeds from this Programme will be used to meet the company’s short-term working capital requirements which are geared towards providing quality services to our valued customers”.

Also, the Sponsor to the Issue on FMDQ Exchange, FSDH Capital Limited, through their Head, Investment Banking, Taiwo Olatunji, stated that, “FSDH Capital Limited is pleased to act as Sponsor and Lead Arranger on the registration of the Fidson Healthcare PLC ₦10.00 billion Commercial Paper Programme on the FMDQ Platform. We believe that the admission of the CP on the FMDQ platform will ensure its global visibility and enhanced liquidity, which will in turn raise the corporate profile of the issuer even further ahead of tapping into other opportunities in the Nigerian capital market”.

As an Exchange positioned to bring about revolutionary changes in the Nigerian capital market, FMDQ Exchange, through the collective efforts of its varied stakeholders shall continue to deliver value-adding initiatives, ranging from the continuous upgrade of its Listings & Quotations Service, to product & market innovations, amongst others. The registration of the Fidson Healthcare PLC CP Programme, as the third on the Exchange’s platform in 2021, validates its conscious drive to support the goals of corporate businesses and to deepen the Nigerian capital market by steadfastly availing its efficient platform for the registration, listing and quotation of debt securities.

SEPLAT Announces $530.5m Revenue In Full Year 2020



Seplat Petroleum Development Company Plc, a leading Nigerian independent emerge company listed on both the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE), has announced its its audited results for the financial year ended 31 December 2020, recording a revenue of $530.5 million with increased operational efficiencies and further reduction in costs.

The Company reported a final dividend of $0.05 per share recommended ($0.10/share for full year) and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) of $265.8 million, operating profit of $121 million (before non-cash impairments and unrealised fair value losses).

Strong cash position of $259 million after $100 million RCF repayment, $58 million dividends paid in the year, and $150 million capex. Net debt stood at $440 million with most maturities after 2021.

Commenting on the results, which were released to the NSE and LSE on Monday, Roger Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said: “2020 was a challenging year for the Company but Seplat has once again shown its resilience and ability to overcome challenges and deliver production in line with guidance, operating with minimal incidences of COVID-19 cases.

“From the $330 million of cash generated from operations, we have increased our capital investment in ANOH and voluntarily paid down $100 million of debt, further deleveraging the balance sheet. Despite seeing the lowest oil prices in our 10-year history, we have continued to honour our commitment to shareholders of a regular income stream on their investment, by maintaining a total dividend of $0.10 per share for the year.”

The SEPLAT CEO explained: “Gas is the lower-carbon feedstock for affordable electricity for Nigeria’s young and rapidly-growing population. Seplat is leading Nigeria’s transition away from spending scarce foreign currency on imported, expensive, high-emission diesel-generated electricity and we believe this will provide the necessary baseload for a functioning electricity grid that will allow renewable energy to take its place, as we see in the developed world, which in large parts is still fueled by coal. The energy transition in Nigeria must balance both the environmental and the social agenda.

“Our flagship ANOH project, with the Nigerian Gas Company, is now fully funded and we have made excellent progress in difficult times, with major gas processing units expected to arrive in Nigeria in Q3 2021, installation to commence before the end of the year, mechanical completion and pre-commissioning in Q1 2022 and first gas flowing to customers before the end of H1 2022, at a lower expected cost of up to $650 million.”

“We remain committed to providing shared value for all of our stakeholders. During the year, with our Government partners, we provided medical beds and other palliatives to our communities and we have committed to constructing a 200-bed infectious diseases hospital.

Seplat continues to focus on employment opportunities for communities, education, healthcare and knowledge transfer and local capacity development,” Brown added.

Zenith Bank Records 5% Gross Earnings Growth At N696.5 bn



Zenith Bank Plc has announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 202.growing gross earnings  by 5 per cent  for the year ended December 31, 2020.

The bank’s gross esrnings for the period ended December 31, 2020 xwhich stood at N696.5 billion was up from N662.3 billion reported in the previous year. A feat which  was achieved in spite of the challenging macroeconomic environment exacerbated by the COVID- 19 pandemic.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2020 financial year presented to the Nigeria Stock Exchange, NSE,  Tuesday, the Group recorded 8 per cent growth in non-interest income from N232.1 billion in 2019 to N251.7 billion in 2020 and a 1 per cent increase in interest income from N415.6 billion in 2019 to N420.8 billion in 2020.

The Bank’s Profit before tax also most bed up by 5 per cent, from N243.3 billion to N255.9 billion in the current year. The increase arose from a combination of growth in the topline and a significant reduction in interest expense.  Interest expense reduced from N148.5 billion in 2019 to N121.1 billion in 2020, significantly increasing the net interest income from N267.0 billion in 2019 to N299.7 billion in 2020.

The Group’s increased retail activities translated to a corresponding increase in retail deposits and loans. Thus, retail deposits grew by N612.7 billion from N1.11 trillion to N1.72 trillion year-on-year (YoY), while savings balances significantly grew by 88 per cent YoY and closed at N1.16 trillion. This retail drive, coupled with the low-interest yield environment, helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.0 per cent to 2.1 per cent and also reduced interest expense.

However, the low-interest environment also affected the net interest margin, which declined from 8.2 per cent to 7.9 per cent in the current year due to the re-pricing of interest-bearing assets. Operating costs grew by 10 per cent YoY but are still tracking well below inflation which at the end of the year stood at 15.75 per cent.

Although returns on equity and assets also reduced from 23.8 per cent to 22.4 per cent and from 3.4 per cent to 3.1 per cent, respectively, the Group still delivered improved Earnings per Share (EPS), which grew 10 per cent from N6.65 to N7.34 in the current year.

The Group also increased corporate customer deposits, which alongside the growth in retail deposits, delivered total deposit growth of 25 per cent, to close at N5.34 trillion, driving growth in market share. Total assets also increased significantly by 34 per cent, from N6.35 trillion to N8.48 trillion.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated challenges, the Group managed to create new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 19 per cent, from N2.46 trillion to N2.92 trillion. This was achieved while maintaining a stable and low overall NPL ratio of 4.29 per cent (2019: 4.3 per cent) across the entire portfolio and an increase in the cost of risk from 1.1 per cent to 1.5 per cent, reflecting the elevated risk environment in 2020.

The Group recorded impressive liquidity and capital adequacy ratios of 66.2 per cent and 23.0 per cent and remained above regulatory thresholds of 30 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively.

In a demonstration of its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend payout of N2.70 per share, bringing the total dividend to N3.00 per share.

As a testament to this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards 2020, Best Bank in Nigeria in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards 2020 and Best Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2020 by the Ethical Boardroom.

Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria, for the fourth consecutive year, in the Banker Magazine “Top 500 Banking Brands 2021” and Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the “2020 Top 1000 World Banks” Ranking published by The Banker Magazine.

Similarly, the bank was recognised as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Retail Bank of the year at the 2020 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and Best Company in Promotion of Good Health and Well-Being as well as Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment at the Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility (SERAS) Awards 2020.Charles

FMDQ : Valency Agro Nigeria Limited Quotes ₦5.12bn Series I CP     

FMDQ Exchange

In fostering the development of the Nigerian Debt Capital Markets (DCM), FMDQ Securities Exchange Limited (“FMDQ  has through its Board Listings and Markets Committee, approved the quotation of the Valency Agro Nigeria Limited ₦5.12 billion Series 1 Commercial Paper (CP) under its ₦20.00 billion CP Programme on its platform.  

This development is in line with the Exchange’s  continued desire to avail its credible and efficient platform as well as tailor its Listings and Quotations services to suit the needs of Issuers and Registration Members (sponsors of the issue on FMDQ Exchange) through innovative and uninterrupted service delivery.

The Valency Agro Nigeria Limited (“Valency Agro) CP debut issue comes at a time where the Nigerian economy is bedeviled with soaring food prices, amidst compounding challenges of insecurity. The agricultural sector and its attendant transformation agenda have never been more important in driving increased and sustainable production of agricultural products as well as the derived foreign earnings through exports. The proceeds from this issue of the CP will be applied by Valency Agro towards meeting the mid-term working capital requirements of the various agricultural produce under its portfolio such as cashew, sesame, cocoa and in value addition prior to export.

Executive Director, Valency Agro Nigeria Limited, Mr. Sumit Jain, comenting on the issuance said “We are thankful to our investors towards showing their faith in our agenda to grow the agriculture focused business with a clear aim to maximise value addition and create employment opportunities in Nigeria. We would also like to commend the efforts made by FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited’s team to build the reach and FMDQ for their unconditional support for the industry”.

According to Mr. Oluseun Olatidoye, Head, Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited, “FBNQuest Merchant Bank Limited is delighted with the successful debut of the ₦5.12 Billion Series 1 CP issued by Valency Agro Nigeria Limited. This reiterates our effort to enable underserved sectors access the debt markets, optimise their capital structure and further deepen the domestic capital markets. We are proud of the instrumental role FBNQuest Merchant Bank played in this transaction and appreciate the trust the management of Valency Agro placed in us to assist them. Our clients remain our priority, and we strongly believe their success is our success”.

The timely admission of this CP, and in general, securities on FMDQ Exchange, is a testament to the efficient processes and integrated systems through which FMDQ Holdings PLC (FMDQ Group or FMDQ), through its wholly owned subsidiaries – FMDQ Exchange, FMDQ Clear Limited, FMDQ Depository Limited and FMDQ Private Markets Limited – has continued to create unique value for its diverse stakeholders during this peculiar time and beyond.

In keeping with its commitment to the development of the market, FMDQ Exchange shall sustain its efforts in supporting issuers with tailored financing options to enable them achieve their strategic objectives, deepen and effectively position the Nigerian DCM for growth, in support of the realisation of a globally competitive and vibrant economy. With a vision to become “the leading African builder of ecosystems of financial infrastructure and services for markets”, and a mission to “collaborate to empower markets for economic progress towards delivering prosperity”, FMDQ Group is unwavering in its pursuit of product and market innovation and as well as stakeholder engagement, towards making the Nigerian financial markets Globally competitive, Operationally excellent, Liquid and Diverse, in line with its GOLD Agenda.

FMDQ Group is Africa’s first vertically integrated financial market infrastructure (FMI) group providing a one-stop platform for the seamless and cost-efficient execution, risk management, clearing, settlement and depository services, as well as data and information services across the debt capital, foreign exchange and derivatives markets in Nigeria.

Court Adjourns Hearing Of Dantata N 2 billion Fraud Case



The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has adjourned to April 15, 2021 the case between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Dantata Success and Profitable Company and four others.

The company and its promoters were last year charged before the Federal High Court in Abuja for investment fraud amounting to over N2billion. Those charged along with the company are Basira Ibrahim Dantata, Lawan Sanni and Gaji Ibrahim Dantata.

The defendants who were arraigned before Justice A. I Chikere of Federal High Court 3, were alleged to have between 2018 and 2019 within the jurisdiction of the court with intent to 1defraud about 7,250 investing public to subscribe and invest in an unregistered investment scheme amounting to over N2 billion.

According to the charge, they committed an offence contrary to Section 54 of the Investments and Securities Act 2007 and punishable under same section.

When the matter came up in court Wednesday, one of the defendants Gaji Ibrahim Dantata was not available due to health reasons.

Justice Chikere thereby adjourned the matter to April 15, 2021 for plea and motion filed by the defendants.

Recall that the Securities and Exchange Commission pursuant to its powers under Section 13 (w) of the Investments and Securities Act (ISA), 2007, on 6 February 2019 sealed up the business premises of Dantata Success & Profitable Company (DSPC), a company that had been engaging in illegal activities in the Nigerian capital market. In addition, the Commission obtained court orders to freeze the bank accounts of the company to preserve the funds of investors in line with Section 13 (x) of the ISA 2007.

The company was not registered or authorized by the Commission to engage in any activity in the capital markets, however it targeted and reached Nigerian investors through radio programs in the Kano area of Nigeria and collected large sums of money from investors under the guise of a “structured investment”. The activities of the company contravene the provisions of Section 38(1) and 67(1) of the Investments and Securities Act which respectively, prohibit unregistered and unauthorized entities/persons from operating any investment business or making any invitation to the public to acquire or dispose of any securities of a body corporate or to deposit money with anybody corporate for a fixed period or payable at call.

The Commission also issued a warning to the public that Dantata Success & Profitable Company and any individuals representing them are not registered and therefore not entitled to provide investment advisory or services in Nigeria.

The Commission further earned the public to exercise utmost caution before deciding to subscribe to investment schemes and to always confirm the registration status of any company or individual and the products they are offering before entering into any transaction with them. Information about entities registered by the Commission to provide investment services can be found in the following link SEC Capital Market Operator Search.