Shareholders of FBN Holdings Plc on Monday approved a total dividend of N13.64 billion declared by the company for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2019.
The shareholders gave the approval at the company’s eighth Annual General Meeting (AGM) live on You Tube in Lagos.
The dividend translated to 38k per share, compared with 26k paid in the comparative period of 2018.
Speaking at the meeting, a shareholder, Mr Matthew Akinlade, commended the company for the dividend and impressive results achieved in 2019 in spite of challenging business environment.
Akinlade said that the company’s operating indices showed that a lot of progress was recorded in 2019.
“Looking at the various indices, it shows the company has made a lot of progress in 2019 in spite of difficulties encountered during the period,” he said.
Akinlade said shareholders were very happy with enhanced dividend declared by the company during the period, urging that it should be improved upon in the years ahead.
Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria ((ISAN), said the dividend approved was well appreciated by the shareholders.
Nwosu, who described the dividend as good thinking, good product, called on the board and management of the company to ensure enhanced performance in future Mr Adebayo Adeleke, another shareholder, commended the company for outstanding performance it recorded in 2019.
Adeleke advised the company to reduce the level of concentration in oil and gas sector in view of current oil prices and local deregulation.
He said that sectoral allocation to agriculture sector, presently at 3.2 per cent, should be reviewed in line with present realities.
Adeleke lauded the company for reduction in impairment charges as well as Non Performing Loan (NPL) which stood at 9.9 per cent in 2019 against 24.7 per cent in 2018.
He, however, urged investors to take advantage of the current company’s price trading at a great discount to increase their stake.
Responding, Mr Urum Kalu Eke, the company’s Group Managing Director, assured the shareholders that FBN Holdings would continue to improve on its performance and NPL in the years ahead.
Eke said loans given out in the last three years were within NPL of less than one per cent. He told the shareholders that the group’s commercial bank subsidiary had been cleaned and transformed.
According to him, the commercial bank in 2019 paid dividend to the holding company for the first time in five years. Speaking on its insurance subsidiary, Eke said the company had not sold the insurance business to anybody.
He said the company was still discussing with its partners, noting that its primary business was to invest or divest a business. Eke noted that enhancement of shareholders value would remain paramount in any business decision.
“We will make full disclosure at the end of the decision, but whatever decision that will be made will be in the interest of shareholders and to strengthen the holding company,” he said.
Dr Adesola Adeduntan, FirstBank Chief Executive Officer, said the bank had invested heavily in technology and human capital to maintain leadership in the industry.
Adeduntan said the bank was a clear leader when it came to electronic business, with large volume of transactions in ATMs, USSD and agency banking, among others.
He disclosed that 23 per cent of the traffic of e-channels in the country was controlled by the bank. Adeduntan said the bank remains the biggest lender to the agriculture sector and would continue to partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria to strengthen the sector.
“But we will not do it to the detriment of depositors and shareholders money,” he promised.