DIRECTORS of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc and Zenith Bank International Plc have refuted certain speculation that the two banks had reached agreement on an acquisition deal.

In separate statements yesterday, the Board of Union Bank said it had no such offer or agreement from Zenith Bank.

UBN stated that there was agreement on business combination with Zenith Bank, noting that “no binding offer has been made by anyone to either its shareholders or the board of directors of Union Bank”.

Zenith Bank also stated that it has not made “any binding offer to acquire any financial institution”.

UBN is making its first dividend payment this year after 11 years of corporate restructuring. The bank has recommended payment of about N7.3 billion for the 2019 business year. Shareholders will receive a dividend per share of 25 kobo.

The dividend was a major highlight of considerable improvements in the commercial bank’s top-line and bottom-line. Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of UBN for the year ended December 31, 2019 released yesterday at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) indicated that gross earnings grew by 14 per cent from N140.1 billion in 2018 to N159.9 billion in 2019. Interest income had grown by 11 per cent from N104.8 billion to N116.5 billion. Non-interest income also rose by 23 per cent from N35.3 billion to N43.3 billion.

The report further showed that operating expenses declined marginally from N71 billion to N70.8 billion. Net operating income increased from N89.7 billion to N95.5 billion. Profit before tax grew by 33 per cent from N18.7 billion to N24.7 billion. Profit after tax also rose by 32 per cent from N18.4 billion to N24.4 billion.

The balance sheet also emerged stronger. Gross loans rose by 20 per cent from N496.8 billion in 2018 to N595.3 billion. Customer deposits increased by 5.0 per cent to N886.3 billion in 2019 as against N844.4 billion in 2018.


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