BY LEVI JOHNSON
The first quarter with a pre-tax profit of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc rose to N58.2 billion within the three-month period across key performance indices.
When the key extracts of its unaudited three months report for the quarter ended March 31, 2020, was released on Tuesday GTB had steady growth.
In the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) released, it showed that profit before tax rose from N56.98 billion from first quarter 2019 to N58.20 billion in first-quarter 2020.
After taxes, net profit also improved from N49.30 billion in first-quarter 2019 to N50.07 billion in first-quarter 2020.
Also, earnings per shares increased from N1.74 in first quarter 2019 to N1.77 in the first quarter of 2020. Net interest income had risen from N58.22 billion to N64.28 billion, counterbalancing the decline in net fee and commission incomes, which dropped from N18.01 billion to N13.55 billion.
GTB distributed N82.4 billion to shareholders as cash dividends for the 2019 business year after it made history with the conduct of first-ever proxy Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Shareholders received a final dividend per share of N2.50 in addition to interim dividend of 30 kobo paid earlier, bringing the total dividend per share for the 2019 business year to N2.80. The bank had distributed N80.94 billion as cash dividend for the 2018 business year, representing a dividend per share of N2.75.
The first quarter 2020 performance was in line with the steady modest performance outlook of the bank, in spite of industry headwinds and macroeconomic challenges.
Key extracts of the audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2019, showed modest growths across key performance indices. Gross earnings rose from N434.7 billion in 2018 to N435.31 billion in 2019.
Profit before tax increased by 7.5 per cent from N215.6 billion to N231.7 billion. After taxes, net profit improved from N184.71 billion to N196.87 billion. Earnings per share thus increased from N6.54 in 2018 to N6.96 in 2019.
The balance sheet also indicated improvements in banking activities and market share. Loans grew by 19 per cent from N1.26 trillion in 2018 to N1.50 trillion in 2019.
Customers’ deposits increased by 11.4 per cent to N2.53 trillion in 2019 as against N2.27 trillion in 2018.
Total assets and shareholders’ funds stood at N3.76 trillion and N687.3 billion respectively. Full impact capital adequacy ratio (CAR) remained strong at 22.5 per cent.
The proportion of non-performing loan to gross loans improved to 6.5 per cent in 2019 as against 7.3 per cent in 2018, implying an improvement in the bank’s asset quality.
Cost of risk (COR) remained flat at 0.3 per cent. Complementing the improvement noted in non-performing loans, the bank maintained adequate loan loss coverage of 126.6 per cent for lifetime credit-impaired loans compared to 105.1 per cent in 2018.
Mr Segun Agbaje, Managing Director, GTBank, in his reaction to the report said GTB exists to provide excellent service to its customers and generate the returns that shareholders expect.
He said the bank’s strong financial performance in 2019 demonstrates that it is delivering on both customers and shareholders’ expectations.
Agbaje said: “We achieved healthy growth across all our major businesses despite varying degrees of uncertainty and volatility, and we are making progress in positioning our business for long-term growth in the face of a rapidly changing competitive landscape.
”Underpinning the bank’s strong financial performance is its commitment to being there for its customers when it matters most.
“That is why, powered by the fundamental strength of our brand, and guided by our strategy of putting our customers at the centre of everything we do, we will continue to design and deliver financial services that not only solves our customers’ real pain points but also leaves them better after every interaction.”
He, however, promised that the bank would continue to be best-in-class in the Nigerian banking industry in terms of financial ratios with post-tax return on equity (ROAE) of 31.2 per cent, post-tax return on assets (ROAA) of 5.6 per cent and cost to income ratio of 36.1 per cent.