Excitement In Shareholders’ Camp As FirstBank Sheds NPL Burden
EXCITEMENT IN SHAREHOLDERS’ CAMP AS FIRSTBANK SHEDS NPL BURDEN
Olushola Okunlade Writes
With a significant cut in its impairment charges (which translates into a clean loan book) in its first quarter (1Q), 2022 results, after it successfully brought down its non-performing loan to 6.1 per cent in 2021 full year performance, analysts say the repeat of the impressive performance of FirstBank in the first quarter did not only show the consistency in its rebound but that it demonstrated the fact that the recovery is real.
For the shareholders of the Nigerian banking behemoth, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, it is a season of celebration and a period to shower praises on the board and management of the bank for successfully working its way back into the reckoning, after a long period of operational challenges mostly blamed on rising cases of non-performing loans.
The shareholders, who joined other stakeholders of the bank and its parent company, FBN Holdings Plc., in appraising its first-quarter 2022 results made public last week, said it is a great relief that the organisation has put the issue of non-performing loans behind it.
According to them, the outstanding results for the bank’s full-year 2021 is an appetizer to the first-quarter 2022 results and that the repeat of impressive results for the first quarter did not only show the consistency of its restructuring but that it demonstrated the fact that the recovery is real.
The founder and pioneer National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association, Sunny Nwosu, in an interview with THISDAY, at the weekend, said the management of FirstBank deserves praise for working the bank back to profitability and clean loan book.
He believes the ability of the FBNHoldings, the parent company, to significantly cut the exposure to non-performing loans to 6.1 percent showed that the bank has shut the door against future delinquent debtors, a development he said will consolidate the bank.
Nwosu said many of the shareholders were pleasantly surprised first, by the performance in the 2021 full results, saying the first quarter 2022 results came as a confirmation of the readiness of the bank to take its leadership position in the nation’s banking industry.
“Considering all the provisions they had made in the past two years and for them to have come out clean shows it is not a bad result and for them to have agreed to pay 35 kobo dividend to shareholders, it is encouraging because most shareholders did not know the company was going to pay anything, especially with all the challenges going on in the economy.
“We are indeed excited that they have been able to bring down non-performing loans, which means they will have more money to do business with and I’m quite sure they will be more careful this time when it comes to giving out loans,” Nwosu stated.
He maintained that FirstBank can still return to the leadership position in the Nigerian banking industry, saying the current leadership should keep an eye on the business and encourage the staff with a good incentive to compete in the industry.
1Q 2022 RESULTS
Analysts said the bank has remained dazzling in virtually all its performance metrics, a development they attributed to the NPL improvements which restored investors’ confidence. And success with NPL means the quality of assets is bound to rise.
An analysis of the bank performance gleaned from the group Q1, 2022 results showed that its exposure to bad loans has substantially reduced given the fact that the amount set aside as impairment charges has come down from N13.175 billion in the first quarter of 2021 to N8.75billion in 1Q 2022.
In the period under review, First Bank of Nigeria Limited recorded gross earnings of N170.4 billion, up by 33 per cent as against N128.1billion in the previous year.
The bank’s net interest income was put at N72.9 billion, a 42.1 per cent from N51.3 billion generated in the same period of 2021, while non-interest income was N58.8 billion, up by 21.7 per cent from the 2021 figure.
Profit After Tax for the first quarter of 2022 was N31billion, whereas N16.3 billion was the figure declared for 1Q, 2021. The bank declared total assets of N8.8 trillion, a 3.5 per cent rise from N8.5 trillion in the preceding year.
To show the bank was in a serious business of lending, its customers’ loans and advances (net) totaled N2.999 trillion, up by 5.8 per cent, year-to-date as of December 2021, which was put at N2.835 trillion, while customers’ deposits were N5.9 trillion, as against N5.6 trillion in the first quarter of 2021, a 5.4 per cent increase.
BUILDING CONFIDENCE IN OPERATION
Analysts believed the recent turnaround and improvement in the Non-performing loans of First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) have been a major boost in the bank’s quest to reinforce its leadership in the financial services industry in Nigeria.
For instance, it has been observed that the current leadership of its Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has been instrumental in building stakeholders’ confidence and trust in the bank’s financial viability with analysts left to ponder and perhaps, understudy the pace of such feat has been achieved. They said answers to these have been provided by the bank’s consistent improvements in its Non-performing Loans (NPL) ratio and position.
For instance, by June 2020, when improvements were noted in the bank’s NPL ratio, the NPL ratio stood at 8.8 per cent. By March 2021, this figure had impressively dwindled to 7.9 per cent, and going by the 2021 results, the figure only stood at 6.1 per cent.
Non-performing loans, or ‘NPLs’, are bank loans that are subject to late repayment or are unlikely to be repaid by the borrower. The inability of borrowers to pay back their loans was aggravated during the financial crisis and the subsequent recessions.
For a bank that was almost brought to its knees by the burden of non-performing loans, it came as a great relief to both the shareholders and the regulatory authorities that for the first time in a long while, FirstBank’s NPLs came down to 6.1 per cent, a significant progress for the bank when compared to other Tier 1 banks and the regulatory threshold of 5.0 per cent.
Analysts also attributed the significant fall in the NPL rates from 40 in 2016 to 6.5 per cent in 2021, to a new culture of corporate governance currently in place in the group and which has successfully revamped the company’s risk management capabilities.
According to the bank, the recent turnaround and improvement in the non-performing loans have been a major boost in FirstBank’s quest to improve profitability and reinforce its leadership in the financial services industry in Nigeria.
Analysts said with the impressive results for its 2021 operations, the board and management of FBN have proven to the investing community that the company is ready to take its leadership role in the nation’s banking sector and that the years of locusts have been put behind the institution.
MAINTAINING FAIRLY MANAGEABLE NPL RATIO
For a sector already under pressure as a result of a sluggish economy, a challenging operating environment, and increased competitive intensity, the year 2022 came with a lot of fears for the Nigerian banking industry.
As economic realities dawned on Nigerians, especially in a pre-election year, many investors struggled to get decently priced loans in Nigerian banks, and their plight is not helped when a bank is risk-averse because it already has lots of bad loans on its books.
It is interesting to note that amidst the huge pressure placed on Nigerian banks by the prevailing sluggish economy, what the management of FirstBank did was diversify its loan books and maintained a fairly manageable Non-Performing Loan (NPL) ratio.
This is because the percentage of non-performing loans in Nigeria reflects the health of the banking system. A higher percentage of such loans shows that banks have difficulty collecting interest and principal on their credits. That may lead to less profits for the banks in Nigeria and, possibly, bank closures.
FirstBank recorded the highest NPL ratio in four years with 24.7 per cent in 2018 which dropped to 9.9 per cent, 7.7 per cent, 7.2 per cent in the period of 2019, 2020, and 6.1 per cent in the 2021 full-year results.
ADEDUNTAN: ‘WE ARE READY TO IMPROVE BOTTOM LINE PERFORMANCE’
Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank Group, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, who expressed the determination of the bank to aim higher said, “At FirstBank, we have historically been interwoven with the fabric of this nation with a full-service commercial banking offering catering to every segment of the economy.
“We believe we are now in a good position to translate this unique revenue-generating potential into improved bottom-line performance.
“Our first-quarter results demonstrate that we have commenced our journey of Quantum Profitability Leap in earnest with profit before tax doubling to N34.1 billion as the Bank begins to reap the dividends of the successful restructuring of its balance sheet, revamped risk management, robust technology, and innovative service offerings.
“Our gross earnings are also up 33.0 per cent YoY to N170.4bn and Net Interest Income up 42.1 per cent YoY to N72.9bn. Furthermore, our strengthened risk management capabilities equip us with the ability to mitigate any negative effects of headwinds that may materialize given current macroeconomic pressures.
“Looking ahead, we will continue to maximize all opportunities presented by our large network, and support our customers with innovative value-adding solutions through these uncertain times while investing in strengthening our digital banking offerings to deliver a better customer experience.”
Culled from Vanguard
Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI: Recovery From Cash Crisis Continues In May
By Moninuola Sulaiman
Latest PMI data indicated that the Nigerian private sector continued to recover from the cash crisis in May as access to money improved and business conditions returned to normality. Output and new orders expanded for the second month running, with the latter increasing at the fastest pace in just over a year. Confidence remained historically subdued, however, meaning that firms continued to operate a cautious approach with regard to hiring. Input costs rose sharply again, with output prices up accordingly. That said, the rate of selling price inflation eased to the weakest since April 2020. The headline figure derived from the survey is the Stanbic IBTC Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI®).
Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration. The headline PMI posted above the 50.0 no-change mark for the second month running in May, following the two-month sequence of decline seen around the worst of the cash crisis in the first quarter of the year. At 54.0, up from 53.8 in April, the index signaled a solid improvement in business conditions that was the most marked in 2023 so far. With access to cash improving, customer numbers increased, enabling firms to secure greater volumes of new orders in May.
New business was up sharply, with the rate of expansion the fastest since April 2022. Similarly, business activity rose for the second month running, and at a marked pace. Here, the expansion was slightly softer than in April, however. The activity was up across each of the four broad sectors covered, with growth led by wholesale & retail. Although higher new orders encouraged firms to increase their staffing levels for the first time in four months during May, the rate of job creation was only marginal amid signs that spare capacity remained in the private sector. The weak pace of employment growth also partly reflected a relatively softer sentiment regarding the year-ahead outlook for activity. Although business expansion plans and predictions of further improvements in new orders supported positive forecasts, confidence dipped and was the second lowest on record.
More positively, firms increased their purchasing activity at a rapid and accelerated pace, with higher input buying helping companies to expand their inventories. Purchase prices continued to rise sharply, albeit at a slightly softer pace than in the previous survey period. Higher costs for agricultural inputs such as animal feeds, and rising prices for industrial raw materials, were often mentioned. Staff costs were also up as companies offered higher pay to employees to reflect greater workloads. Although output prices rose markedly in response to higher costs, the pace of inflation eased to the softest in just over three years as some firms offered discounts to stimulate demand.
IFC, Partners Support BUA With $500M Facility To Boost Industrialization, Create Jobs, In Northern Nigeria, Sahel
Rashidat Okunlade Writes
International Finance Corporation (IFC) on Monday made its largest-ever investment in northern Nigeria, providing a financing package alongside African and European partners to BUA Cement Plc to help the company part-finance and develop two new, energy-efficient cement production lines that will create up to 12,000 direct and indirect jobs.
IFC’s $500 million financing package includes a $160.5 million loan from IFC’s own account, a $94.5 million loan through the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program (MCPP), and $245 million in parallel loans from syndication partners; the African Development Bank (AfDB) – $100 million, the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) – $100 million, and the German Investment Corporation, Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) – $45 million.
The financing, announced during the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, will allow BUA, Nigeria’s second-largest cement producer, to develop new production lines in northern Nigeria’s Sokoto State. The plants will run partly on alternative fuels derived from waste and solar power. Each will produce about three million tons of cement annually when complete, serving markets in Nigeria, Niger, and Burkina Faso.
Investing in northern Nigeria is integral to IFC’s strategy to promote sustainable development in underserved regions. This includes areas with limited opportunities and a need for increased private-sector engagement. The new plants will provide local developers with a reliable and affordable source of cement, and bolster the construction of essential infrastructure, fostering economic growth and prosperity for the region.
The project is expected to create about 1,000 direct and 10,800 indirect jobs. Direct jobs include those in manufacturing, engineering, and advanced automation systems. Indirect jobs include those in the cleaning, maintenance, mining, and transportation sectors.
“BUA is delighted to partner with IFC and other esteemed institutions in securing this $500 million facility to develop energy-efficient cement production capacity and strengthen our equipment and logistics capabilities in northern Nigeria. In line with our commitment to sustainability and ESG principles, this investment will create jobs and contribute to economic and infrastructural development within Nigeria and the greater Sahel region. We are particularly pleased to have successfully gone through the rigorous process with IFC, AfDB, AFC, and DEG, which validates our responsible business practices. By focusing on greener fuels and enhancing our equipment and logistics platform, BUA Cement is building a foundation for sustainable infrastructure growth and a more inclusive society,” said Abdul Samad Rabiu, Chairman and Founder of BUA Group.
“We are pleased to join with our partners to support BUA with an investment that will boost industrialization, create jobs and deliver economic growth in northern Nigeria, a region with significant economic potential,” said Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director.
The financing package announced by IFC and its partners will also allow BUA to replace some of its diesel trucks with vehicles that are run partly on natural gas, over time producing fewer emissions. As part of the project, IFC will also advise BUA on developing a gender-inclusive workplace strategy that creates more opportunities for women across its operations.
“Following an initial $200 million investment in BUA Group in 2021, we are proud to play another key role in this landmark manufacturing project set to transform the construction sector in northern Nigeria and the entire country. Investing in this project will sustainably build Nigeria’s local manufacturing capacity, empowering local communities and creating employment opportunities. AFC is committed to working with our partners to accelerate development impact through infrastructure solutions that support value addition, industrialization, and job creation throughout Africa,” said Samaila Zubairu, CEO & President of Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
“The African Development Bank is pleased to be partnering with IFC and BUA on this expansion project as it is aligned with our priority strategies of industrializing Africa and improving the quality of lives of Africans through the increase in cement production which will lead to the development of additional affordable housing and critical infrastructure in Nigeria and neighboring West African countries while supporting the use of cleaner energy at BUA’s Sokoto facility,” said Solomon Quaynor, Vice President – Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization of African Development Bank (AfDB).
“DEG’s mission is to be a reliable partner to private sector enterprises as drivers of development and creators of qualified jobs. We are pleased to contribute to this transaction together with our development finance partner institutions. Together we support BUA in its transformation towards a more sustainable production by implementing innovative technology. The significant reduction of CO2 emissions and the creation of decent jobs in a region with many vulnerable households are key factors for DEG’s financing,” said Gunnar Stork, Senior Director at DEG.
The investment in BUA is part of IFC’s strategy to promote diversified, inclusive growth and job creation in Nigeria, where IFC supports the manufacturing agribusiness, healthcare, infrastructure, technology, and financial services sectors. IFC has an active investment portfolio of $2.3 billion in Nigeria.
Know More About IFC: a member of the World Bank Group — is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in over 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In the fiscal year 2022, IFC committed a record $32.8 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of global compounding crises. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
Know More About BUA Group: BUA Group is one of Africa’s leading manufacturing, mining, foods, and infrastructure conglomerates with diversified interests in a wide range of sectors, including but not limited to Cement, Sugar, Flour Milling, Real Estate, logistics, and Infrastructure. Established in 1988 by Abdul Samad Rabiu, BUA Group has consistently grown over the years, establishing itself as a leading player in the Nigerian and African private sectors. As an organization, BUA Group places a strong emphasis on operational excellence, leveraging innovative technologies, and nurturing a high-performing workforce to stay competitive. Beyond its business operations, the group is dedicated to contributing positively to the socio-economic development of its host communities, signifying its commitment to sustainable and responsible business practices. For more information, visit www.buagroup.com
FBN Holdings 2022 Earnings Rises To N805 Billion; Q1 2023 Profit Grows By 55% To N56 Billion
Rashidat Okunlade Writes
FBN Holdings Plc. (FBNH) announces its unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023.
Selected Financial Summary
|∆||Key Ratios %||Q1
|Gross earnings||259.5||180.5||+43.8%||Post-tax return on average equity5||20.1||14.5|
|Interest income||179.6||109.4||+64.1%||Post-tax return on average assets6||1.9||1.4|
|Net-interest income||111.8||72.8||+53.6%||Earnings yield7||10.1||7.6|
|Non-interest income||72.3||64.7||+11.8%||Net-interest margin8||6.3||5.1|
|Operating income||184.2||137.5||+33.9%||Cost of funds9||3.0||2.0|
|Impairment charges for losses||16.9||8.8||+93.1%||Non-interest revenue/operating income||39.3||47.1|
|Operating expenses||111.2||92.2||+20.6%||Cost to income10||60.4||67.0|
|Profit before tax||56.1||36.5||+53.6%||Gross loans to deposits||54.1||51.9|
|Profit for the period ||50.1||32.4||+54.5%||Capital adequacy (FirstBank (Nigeria)||15.6||16.0|
|Basic EPS (kobo)||1.38||0.89||+54.0%||Capital adequacy
(FBNQuest Merchant Bank)
|Statement of Financial Position||NPL/Gross Loans||4.0||6.0|
|Total assets||11,094||10,578||4.9%||PPOP12/impairment charge (times)||4.3||5.2|
|Customer loans & advances (Net)||3,949||3,789||4.2%||Cost of risk13||1.7||1.1|
|Customer deposits||7,591||7,124||6.6%||Book value per share||27.9||25.3|
Nnamdi Okonkwo, Group Managing Director commented: “FBNHoldings has sustained its positive performance momentum despite the clearly difficult operating environment. This is a testament to our ability to effectively navigate the challenging business terrain and optimise opportunities. It further demonstrates our disciplined risk management and strong execution capabilities resulting in enhanced revenue generation and improved bottom line.
“Notwithstanding the ongoing progress, we remain focused on innovating and deepening our value propositions and delivery model while optimising operational efficiencies, using technology, to drive sustainable earnings and returns for our shareholders. We are confident that the Q1 performance will be maintained for the rest of the year.”
- Gross earnings of ₦7 billion, up 44.2% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦170.4 billion)
- Net interest income of ₦110.0 billion, up 50.9% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦72.9 billion)
- Non-interest income of ₦67.8 billion, up 10.6% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦61.3 billion)
- Operating expenses of ₦107.6 billion, up 21.0% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦88.9 billion)
- Profit before tax of ₦55 billion, up 57.0% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦34.1 billion)
- Profit after tax of ₦48.0 billion, up 54.8% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦0 billion)
- Total assets of ₦6 trillion, up 5.1% y-t-d (Dec 2022: ₦10.1 trillion)
- Customers’ loans and advances (net) of ₦3.9 trillion, up 4.5% y-t-d (Dec 2022: ₦3.7 trillion)
- Customers’ deposits of ₦4 trillion, up 6.64% y-t-d (Dec 2022: ₦6.9 trillion)
Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank (Commercial Banking Group) commented: “The FirstBank Group delivered an impressive performance in Q1 2023, with significant growth across key metrics. Gross earnings recorded a substantial increase of 44.2% year-on-year, demonstrating the Bank’s ability to generate substantial revenue from core operations. Net interest income saw a remarkable surge of 50.9% year-on-year on the back of optimal asset pricing and effective management of interest-earning assets. Increasing penetration of digital and transaction banking offerings supported our Q1 performance in non-interest income by 15.3% growth. The increase of 21.0% year-on-year in operating expense reflects the high inflationary environment but within revenue growth. Overall, the Commercial Banking Group delivered substantial growth of 57.0% and 54.8% in profit before tax and profit after tax, respectively, for the quarter.
The growth in our performance metrics underlies the strength in the core fundamentals underpinning our business strategy and the sustainability of our business model. This year marks our 129th anniversary and these results clearly demonstrate the resilience of our business model and proven ability to transform ourselves to meet the demands of changing times and seasons. Our transformative and purpose-driven strategy, alongside our strong value propositions, enables us to continue supporting our customers across our chosen markets. We are optimistic about the rest of FY 2023 and these results are a sign of better things to come.”
Merchant Banking & Asset Management (MBAM) / FBNQuest
- Gross earnings of ₦85 billion, down 16.4% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦10.5 billion)
- Profit before tax of ₦2.2 billion, down 34.4% y-o-y (Mar 2022: ₦3.4 billion)
- Total assets of ₦7 billion, up 0.1% y-t-d (Dec 2022: ₦495.4 billion)
Fidelity Bank Announces 2nd Edition Of Fidelity International Trade And Creative Connect (FITCC)
Stanbic IBTC Bank Updates Its Woman-Owned Account To include Male Signatory
NITDA Showcased Nigeria’s Innovative IT Policy Formulation Approach At 2023 London Blockchain Conference
NNPC Board Chairman Commends Nigeria’s Participation At OTC 2022
Seplat Energy Appoints Ezugworie As COO, Executive Director Board
Institute For Tourism Professionals Elected Otunba Ayo Olumoko As Zonal Vice President
Energy1 year ago
NNPC Board Chairman Commends Nigeria’s Participation At OTC 2022
Energy11 months ago
Seplat Energy Appoints Ezugworie As COO, Executive Director Board
Business1 year ago
Institute For Tourism Professionals Elected Otunba Ayo Olumoko As Zonal Vice President
Business2 years ago
NGX CEO Temi Popoola, Others Attend CIS Investiture Ceremony
Money Market2 years ago
Exclusive Interview: Microfinance Bank As Catalyst for MSME Development in Nigeria
News1 year ago
MTN Nigeria Team Celebrates CEO, Karl Toriola On Birthday Anniversary
Business8 months ago
BUA Starium Detergent Factory Near Completion, Creates More Job Opportunity
News2 years ago
CIBN President Bayo Olugbemi, Team, Visit Redeemers’ University, Ede