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Bank’s growth plan targets key sectors, to pay N576m dividend

Abubakar Suleiman

Sterling Bank Plc has said it would leverage on key sectors of the economy to drive sustainable growth and deliver value to shareholders, among which are health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation.

The Chairman of the company, Asue Ighadalo, while addressing shareholders during the 56th yearly general meeting of the bank explained that the lender has adopted a strategic plan that would enable it increase customer base and enhance profitability in the next financial year.

Besides, the bank’s shareholders have approved N575.8 million total dividend translating to two kobo per share due to every investor of the bank for the 2017 financial year.

He pointed out that the bank remains committed to its vision of maximising shareholders value by implementing and delivering tailor- made solutions in line with the global best practice and CBN sustainable banking principles.

“Our core objective is to extensively incorporate environmental, social and governance considerations into our business. Our products, service and other interactions must satisfy stakeholders needs and objective as well as provide adequate financials returns for shareholders,” he added.

The Managing Director of the bank, Abubakar Suleiman, while answering questions from shareholders, explained that the bank had aligned its business model to offer financial and non-financial solutions to the five key priority sectors of the economy.

He explained that the bank’s choice of market segments was based on the understanding of emerging trends in the macroeconomic environment and opportunities in the sectors of interest.

Suleiman said that the bank would continue to mobilise private sector capital to solve some of the most pressing social and economic needs of the people, adding that the bank’s intervention in these sectors would boost its performance and as well enhance the growth and development of the sectors.

According to him, the bank recorded improved performance in its financials, which has resulted to a renewed investor confidence in the bank, adding that this has seen the bank’s stock recording over 52 per cent year-to-date price gain.

Furthermore, he explained that the bank reported a profit after tax of N8.5 billion for the financial year ended December 31, 2017 as against N5.2 billion in 2016, representing an increase of 65 per cent in profitability.

Gross earnings increased by 19.8 per cent to N133.5 billion in 2017 compared to N111.4 billion in 2016. Sustaining the impressive performance, Sterling Bank reported a profit growth of 65.2 per cent for the first quarter ended 31st March 2018.

Suleiman disclosed that the bank is also looking towards achieving diversified income streams with top quartile position in all its operating areas, double digit revenue growth on yearly basis and reduce cost of funds to less than five percent.

On the bank’s long-term strategy, the banker disclosed that Sterling Bank intends to become a globally competitive financial services franchise by financial and non-financial measures; adding that it would continue to operate a fully sustainable business model with institutionalized processes that would outlive the stewardship of current owners and managers.

Speaking on behalf of shareholders, the President, Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity Association, Mathew Akinlade, commended the bank for its orderly leadership transition, digitisation, improved shareholders’ value, increased customer deposit and a strong performance in a fragile financial year in which the economy only started recording growth in its second quarter after a severe 15 months recession.

According to Akinlade, the bank’s performance is very encouraging; which makes it easy for shareholders to unanimously support the mid and long-term management strategies put in place by the Board and Management.

He advised the leadership of the bank to deliver on strategy to make Sterling a bank of the future and market leader in the areas of health, education, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation.

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