First Bank Group earnings hit N481 billion
The audited report of First Bank Holdings Plc for the financial year ended December 2014, showed a gross earnings of N480.6 billion, up 21.3 per cent, compared to N396.2 billion in 2013.
Net interest income also rose by six per cent to N243.9 billion, against N230.1 billion in 2013, while non-interest income of N111.8 billion was recorded, representing 66.1 per cent increase, compared to the corresponding period of 2013, put at N67.3 billion.
Further analysis showed that the operating income rose to N355.1 billion, representing 19.8 per cent, over N296.4 billion recorded in 2013. According to the audited result, the growth in non-interest income was driven primarily by growth in foreign exchange income as well as fees and commission income.
On the expenditure side, impairment charge for credit losses of N25.9 billion, a 27.7 per cent increase over N20.3 billion in 2013, while operating expenses of N236.8 billion, was recorded in 2014, up by 27.5 per cent compared to N185.8 billion in 2013. The bank however, grew profit before tax to N92.9 billion, representing 1.7 per cent increase, against N91.3 billion in the comparable period of 2013, while profit after tax hit N82.8 billion, a 17.3 per cent increase above N70.6 billion in 2013.
Meanwhile, a cash dividend of N0.10k per 50 kobo share and a scrip (bonus) issue of one share for every 10 shares held amounting to a total distribution of N1.05k per share, has been proposed, against N1.10k in 2013, representing 11.0 per cent dividend yield.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Bello Maccido, said: “The Group recorded a strong financial performance in 2014, despite the highly challenging operating environment particularly for our flagship business, First Bank of Nigeria. As such, the performance by the Banking Group is a testament to the underlying strength of our commercial banking business, which is built on an extensive retail network and a robust information technology platform.
“Notwithstanding the tough operating environment, the Group showed commendable growth across all the key performance indicators buoyed by the complementary performance of our non-bank subsidiaries.
“We remain focused on diversifying our revenue streams through the extraction of value from our recent bank acquisitions, consolidating our position in the investment banking space, especially with the acquisition of Kakawa, and expanding our insurance business scope.
“Our investment in technology, human capital and portfolio expansion are beginning to shape the long-term fundamentals of the Group and will deliver a positive return on investment over the longer term. However, in the short to medium term we continue to ensure our business remains as resilient as can be to the shifts in the regulatory and macro-economic environment; shore up our risk management processes; and, drive efficiencies across the Group.”
The lender, in the period under review, grew it total assets by 12.2 per cent to N4.3 trillion, against N3.9 trillion in the corresponding period of 2013, while customer deposits hit N3.1 trillion, compared to N2.9 trillion in 2013 and customer loans and advances of N2.2 trillion, in comparison with N1.8 trillion in 2013.
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