Notwithstanding the havoc wreaked by the novel Coronavirus pandemic on the national and global economy in 2020, directors of the Central Securities Clearing System Plc (CSCS), on Wednesday hinted that it successfully weathered the storm, as shown in the audited financials for the year ended December 31.
As evidence of yet another good year, directors of the depository are proposing that shareholders approve a total payout of N5.85bn in dividend, translating to N1.17 per share, representing a growth of 36% over the N0.86 each paid from the 2019 financial year earnings, at the next annual general meeting.
Highlights of the result showed that the flat growth in a year when many economies were locked down to check the spread of the deadly virus, was more than compensated for by a 61.4% improvement in investment income and the huge tax cuts; despite the 46% increase in operating expenses incurred in the period.
Specifically, total operating income for the period stood at N12.087bn, boosted by the investment income of N7.443bn, up from N4.612bn; while revenue stood at N4.603bn, as against the previous year’s N4.588bn; just as other income rose from N5.096m to N40.169m.
Total operating expenses during the year increased to N4.717bn from N3.231bn, which it said partly reflected investments in technology and human capital; of which personnel expenses rose to N2.051bn from N1.317bn; and other operating expenses from N1.268bn to N1.837bn. Finance cost rose from N48.546m to N74.234m; depreciation and amortization stood at N616.289m, compared to N547.906m; and impairment loss jumped from N49.561m to N139.293
This left a profit before tax of N7.392bn, compared to N6.042bn in 2019; just as income tax dropped by 59.34% from N1.141bn in the preceding year to N464.361m; leaving a net profit of N6.928bn, up from N4.9bn, representing an Earnings Per Share of N1.39, compared to the 98 kobo of 2019.
On the balance sheet, total assets grew to N41.42bn, compared to N36.61bn in the 2019 full year, representing a 13.1% year-on-year growth; shareholders’ funds climbed to N35.49bn, up 7.9% YoY, which the board said reflects a strong capacity for organic capital growth.
The statement quoted Oscar Onyema, chairman of the company as expressing excitement at what he described as “stellar results,” which defied the unprecedented challenges that characterised 2020 financial year, when “CSCS emerged stronger, delivering outstanding growth in top and bottom-lines, and executing far-reaching initiatives that would sustainably strengthen the competitiveness and resilience of the business.”
The board and management, he continued, “are upbeat about the value accretive prospects of CSCS, and we are enthusiastic that the progress made thus far in repositioning the business to efficiently play a more active and leading role in deepening the Nigerian capital market will be sustained.
“With continuous investments in new technologies, talent, and work environment, we are optimistic on the productivity of CSCS going forward,” he added.
Also commenting on the results, Haruna Jalo-Waziri, the company’s Chief Executive said CSCS outperformed its budget, “reinforcing our commitment to delivering superior value to our shareholders, irrespective of the odds.
“These impressive results reflect our enhanced collaboration with different stakeholders and their unflinching support and loyalty to CSCS, as the core infrastructure for the Nigerian capital market,” he stressed.
While dedicating the performance to stakeholders, such as the regulator and board, “whose support kept us stronger through the pandemic.
“We would continue to invest in our collective objective of deepening the capital market and broader financial system, even as we seek new and efficient ways of enhancing our partnerships for mutual prosperity. Having laid a solid foundation over the past three years, we are more than ever optimistic on the prospect of our business, especially as we diversify the business for enhanced resilience against macro and market volatilities. We will sustain our disciplined cost efficiency culture, in our commitment to delivering sustainable value to shareholders over the long term.
“We are excited at the 39.0% cost-to-income ratio, despite the impact of exchange rate volatilities and rising headline inflation on our cost base. The year’s ahead look challenging, albeit more promising than ever, as we reinforce our commitment to leveraging best-in-class technologies and our continuous investments in human capital in delivering value to all stakeholders.”
Also commenting on CSCS’ financial performance, the Chief Financial Officer, Peter Medunoye said: “We recorded impressive double-digit growth in revenue and profitability, and more importantly recorded continuous improvement across all key performance indicators. We recorded decent growth in income from our CSD and ancillary services whilst also leveraging our ingenuity in effectively positioning the proprietary investment portfolio for growth.
“Delivering 17.7% and 20.3% return on average assets and return on average equity respectively, we are excited at the capacity of the business in generating internal capital to fund the exciting growth ahead,” he stressed.