Access Bank Profit Up 59% At N63bn, On Impairment Charge Drop, Despite Rising Costs, Offers N0.25 Dividend

Finally, directors of Access Bank Plc, on Friday presented its audited half-year report indicating that profit before and after-tax rose faster than gross earnings, on robust growth in interest income; fee and commission income; as loan loss provision dropped by 33.52%; other operating income; and a significant drop in net foreign exchange loss.
The directors therefore recommended an interim dividend of 25 kobo per share from its Earnings Per Share of 190 kobo, 40% up from 135 kobo, from which they also recommended 25 kobo each, in the corresponding period of last year, as the bank begins to reap the benefits of its recent acquisition and business combination with the then troubled Diamond Bank Plc. Closure date for the dividend payment is September 24, while payment is slated for October 3, 2019.
Gross earnings for the period rose from N253.024bn in the 2018 half-year to N324.375bn; a breakdown of which showed that corporate and investment banking contributed N140.241bn; followed by personal banking, N93.087bn; commercial banking, N75.57bn; and business banking, N15.362bn. Revenue was driven mainly by interest income of N272.896bn, up by 46.18% from N186.686bn; better than the 16.14% constrained growth in interest expenses from N101.389bn to N117.75bn. Net interest income, therefore, stood at N155.146bn, 81.89% better than the previous N85.296bn.
By geography, the bank’s Nigerian operations posted N277.987bn earnings; rest of Africa, N32.464bn; and Europe, N19.475bn.
Net impairment charge dropped by 33.52% from N7.34bn in 2018 to N4.879bn; following which net interest income after impairment charges soared by 92.76% from N77.956bn to N150.266bn.
Fee and commission income for the period climbed 38.21% from N30.284bn to N41.858bn; just as expense jumped 1,886.67% from N217.896m to N4.328bn; following which net fee and commission income improved by 24.82% to N37.529bn, compared to N30.066bn.
Net gains on investment securities dropped to N4.145bn from N59.564bn; net foreign exchange loss decreased from N33.779bn to N18.936bn; other operating income closed the period 137.77% better at N24.412bn from N10.267bn.
Personnel expenses increased by 19.78% to N31.245bn from N26.085bn; rent expense dropped 63.05% to N822.145m from N2.225bn; depreciation rose 39.21% to N9.311bn from N6.689bn; amortization from N1.349bn to N2.163bn; just as other operating expenses increased by 28.88% from N61.884bn to N79.757bn, with Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) surcharge rising from N22.644bn, up from N17.498bn.
Profit before tax stood at N74.115bn, improving by 51.67% from N45.842bn; PBT from the Nigerian operations stood at N58.448bn; Europe, N9.076bn; and rest of Africa, N7.017bn. Tax expenses for the half-year period increased by 78.39% to N11.091bn from N6.217bn; following which net profit rose 59.05% from N38.625bn, pre-merger, to N63.024bn. The biggest contribution to net profit was the N44.714bn from corporate & investment banking; followed by N14.222bn from commercial banking; personal banking recorded N12.263bn profit; and business banking, N3.581bn.
On the balance sheet, total assets soared by 30.97% from N4.954tr to N6.488tr, boosted by customer loans and advances at N2.65tr, up from N1.993tr; total liabilities rose 32.29% to N5.904tr, lifted by customer deposits which increased from N4.463tr, driven by the N1.618tr or 63.09% growth from N2.564tr to N4.182tr. This resulted in shareholders’ funds increasing by 19.02% from N490.511bn to N583.79bn.