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Shareholders applaud Sterling Bank’s 2019 performance

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Sterling Bank Plc shareholders on Thursday commended the bank’s financial performance and dividend payout for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2019.

The shareholders gave the commendation at the bank’s 58th Annual General Meeting (AGM held virtually by proxy and streamed live from the MUSON Centre in Lagos.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association, lauded the bank’s board, management and entire workforce for their hard work.

“We are constrained by COVID-19 and cannot roll out the drums to celebrate the achievement of our bank today.

“All the same, we thank the board and management for the impressive outing in 2019 and the dividend recommendation.

“Looking at performance highlights, the bank has done a lot to grow our assets to N1.182 trillion.

“Loans and advances have also grown, operating income has grown, and our deposit base should hit N1 trillion by next year.

“We commend the board for retaining earnings, protecting shareholders’ funds, and ensuring there is no insider abuse as it relates to loans.

“We are happy that our bank is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19 and keeping the environment clean through its support for LAWMA,” Okezie said.

Mr Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), appreciated the increase in the bank’s demand deposit which went up by 47 per cent and described it as “quite good.”

Nwosu appreciated the way employees of the bank attend to customers and expressed the hope that such excellent service delivery would continue to differentiate it postCOVID-19.

Mr Mathew Akinlade, President, Noble Solidarity Shareholders Association (NSSA), also commended the bank for bringing down its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio from 8.7 per cent in 2018 to 2.2 per cent in 2019.

Akinlade noted that the NPL was below the benchmark of five per cent prescribed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He lauded the bank for compliance which reduced penalties for contraventions in 2019 by 73.3 per cent when compared with 2018.

Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, Mr Asue Ighodalo, the bank’s Chairman, said its shareholders’ fund grew by 22.2 per cent to N119.6 billion.

He said this was because of increase in retained earnings, despite the challenging operating environment under which it operated during the review period.

Ighodalo said the rise in total equity was attributable to growth in comprehensive income arising from gains recorded from investments in debt securities.

He said that the Board of Directors recognised the importance of dividends to its shareholders and constantly sought to balance this with capital requirements to support the bank’s next wave of growth.

“Accordingly, the Board recommends the payment of 3k per share as dividend for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019 to reward our loyal and committed shareholders.

“This affords the bank the required buffer to finance its growth ambitions, and effectively become a first-class, stronger, creative and extremely dependable financial institution,” Ighodalo said.

The chairman said the bank consolidated its efforts in the mobilisation of deposits during the review period, thereby recording a 17.4 per cent growth in deposit base to N893 billion from N761 billion in 2018.

In his comments, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Suleiman Abubakar, noted that, “For a bank to succeed in these uncertain times, it must be agile, cautious, innovative, knowledgeable and prepared.”

He said that the bank’s unwavering commitment to a more disciplined deployment of scarce capital and the strength of its retail business contributed to a 15 per cent growth in profit after tax to N10.6 billion.

Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

 

Economy

We did not ask Adesina to step down for probe —- AfDB shareholders forum

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The Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday denied asking the bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina to step down for any probe.

The Chairman of the bureau, NIALE KABA in a statement said that the publications trending in the media on purported directive of stepping down of Adesina was false.

KABA said there was no governance crisis at AfDB as was being speculated at certain quarters.

He cautioned that the bureau should be allowed to do its work and it would ensure due process as all governors would be carried along in resolving whatever the issues might be.

“The bureau of the Boards of Governors of AfDB met on Tuesday, May 26,  to consider the matter arising from a whistleblowers’ complaint against the president of the bank which was dealt with by the ethics committee of boards of Directors of the bank.

“And for which I received letters from some stakeholders expressing various views.

“Following the meeting, my attention has been drawn to several publications in the national and international press regarding the content of the deluberations of the said meeting, and I’m compelled to make clarifications in other to avoid any misunderstanding.

“The bureau which I chaired wishes to reasure the publuc that it is  treating the matter with the utmost seriousness that it deserves.

“The bureau wishes to informs the public that it has not taken any decision as was falsely conveyed in some publications,” he added.

Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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Economy

CSCS shareholders approve N4.3bn total dividend for 2019

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Shareholders of Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, on Friday, approved total dividend of N4.3 billiion declared by the board for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2019.

The shareholders gave the approval at the company’s virtual 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM) by proxy, held at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) event centre.

The dividend translated to 86k per share when compared with 70k per share paid in the comparative period of 2018.

Speaking to the shareholders at the meeting, Mr Oscar Onyema, CSCS Chairman, appreciated the resilience of the company and its performance amidst market volatility and waning transaction volumes in 2019.

“This sets of results and impressive returns to shareholders are commendable, particularly when put in the perspective of the relatively weak liquidity in the market in 2019.

“This feat reflects the tenacity of the management in diversifying the business and commitment to cost efficiency.

“Whilst transaction fees waned, it is satisfying that CSCS sustained both top and bottom-line growths, with revenue and profit before tax of N9.1billion and N6.3 billion respectively”, Onyema said.

Mr Haruna Jalo-Waziri, CSCS Managing Director, said that the performance was a result of commitment to superior value for shareholders.

“My colleagues and I remain committed to our earnings growth and cost efficiency philosophies, as we are driven by the ultimate objective of creating superior value for  shareholders and enhancing market efficiencies.

“I am pleased with the 165 per cent growth in non-core earnings, reflecting our tenacity toward diversifying the business.

“More importantly, the overall performance reflects the pay-off of our painstaking investment in people and new technologies, as we strengthen our capacity to serve our participants better and meet anticipatory need of the market.”

“Notwithstanding the inflationary environment, we closed 2019 with 31.5 per share cost-to-income ratio, demonstrating continuous improvement in cost efficiency.

“As we deliver on our strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the post-trade segment of the Nigerian capital market, we are upbeat on the earnings outlook of the company, with expectations of delivering superior returns to shareholders over the long term,” Jalo-Waziri said.

He said that the company would continue to strengthen its partnership with all market stakeholders toward deepening the market for mutual growth.

 “In 2019, we seamlessly delivered on our core responsibilities of safe depository, clearing and settlement of capital market transactions, but these do not excite us, as we are not in business for these table stakes, which we consider to be routine.

“We have greater and audacious ambitions of partnering with our stakeholders in realising the huge potential of the Nigerian capital market through innovations.

“I am pleased that we are laying solid foundations for creating value and impactful innovations for the Nigerian market, even as we reckon the odds”, Jalo-Waziri added.

On coronavirus pandemic, Jalo-Waziri said that the company activated its Business Continuity Plan requiring staff to work from home well ahead of the Federal Government’s lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.

He said, “I am happy to report that we continue to seamlessly serve the market remotely, extracting the benefits of our proactive investments in new technologies and people.

“Whilst operating remotely over the past eight weeks, we continue to record 99.99 per cent uptime across all our channels, with a resounding commitment to efficiently support all primary and secondary market transactions through this challenging time, and always.”

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Economy

Real time trading, helping capital market to thrive — shareholders’ association

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Mr Eric Akinduro, the Chairman, Shareholders’ Association, Ibadan Zone says real time trading is helping the Nigerian Capital Market to thrive in the face of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

Akinduro made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan.

He commended the leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) for being proactive in setting machineries in motion for such a time as this.

“As one of the players in the market, I can say that the market is really encouraging.

“It is very active in the sense that we are getting more bullish period (Stock Market characterised by rising share prices).

“Economically, if we should look at it, by now we should not have such a thing because there is not much activity in the economy.

“But when you look at our market at times, what is driving our market is quite different from finance, as we can see it in the market presently,’’ he said.”

He noted that the market was not feeling the heat of the present pandemic and lockdown occasioned by the novel COVID-19.

“The lockdown has not really affected the market negatively because we can see that some of the companies are really performing well now.

“But one thing we know which I am quite sure of is that we are going to see the likely reverse aspect of the market at the end of the day.

“It may not be in the long term but in the short term because the market is one that is progressing,” he said.

The trend we are passing through presently would affect the market but it would be in the long term.

“When we look at some of these companies that are in the market, they are really making good business now.

“And at the end of the day, the report they will give as their quarterly report will be very encouraging, I am quite sure,” he said.

According to him, the manufacturing companies, beverages and others are earning good money now unlike some other sectors like hotels and the likes.

“Some of the companies will surely give us good reports but we cannot rule out that the market will definitely feel the heat after this period. 

“But one thing I know is that, it is not going to be for the long term but for the short term and at the end of the day the market will definitely correct itself.

“This will make investors to keep on enjoying themselves,” he said. 

Akinduro also said the electronic means of transactions had been effective and helpful in the capital market.

“It seems our operators of the capital market have helped our economy by going ahead of this current situation.

“The leadership of the Nigerian Stock Exchange at this present time envisaged this and has put every stock broking firm on their toes to ensure that they are up to the task. 

“As you can see now, there is no physical trading but trading is going on online and investors are participating.

“That is why when you have leadership they should see challenges ahead before it turns to problem. 

“They have envisaged this before now and we thank God that the real time trading is really helpful to investors now and we are enjoying it.

“If I have anything to buy today and I instruct my broker before noon, I get the alert that is to show us the proactiveness of the NSE and the capital market.”

Akinduro said if NSE had planned for such a time as this, he believed there would not be any way the investors could be participating in the market as at now. 

“They are aware of this and have put a tough strategy in place so we don’t feel the heat of the lockdown on the market as everything is going on as it ought to be,” he said.

NAN reports that the association has members in Ekiti, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo States.

 

Edited By: Dorcas Jonah/Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

 

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Economy

Shareholders urge new SEC D-G to initiate investor-friendly policies

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The Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN) has advised Mr Lamido Yuguda, the new Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to initiate policies to woo investors back to the market.

Mr Boniface Okezie, PSAN National Coordinator, gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Lagos.

Okezie said the new D-G should embrace policies that would woo retail investors back to the market, especially those who left due to losses recorded during the global financial meltdown.

He also tasked Yuguda to reduce transaction charges on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) so as to deepen investment in the capital market.

He stressed the need for the new D-G to strengthen relationship between the commission and shareholder groups in the market.

According to Okezie, there is a need for a round table discussion between the commission and shareholders on ways to move the market forward.

He urged him to give the capital market a new direction to boost investors’ confidence.

Okezie observed that investors’ confidence in the SEC, in the last two years, had been affected as there was no substantive D-G for the period.

He, therefore, commended President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing Yuguda.

He urged Yuguda to ensure round pegs were fixed in round holes in the commission for effective service delivery.

NAN reports that President Buhari nominated Yuguda as the substantive SEC Director-General on May 19.

The development ended uncertainties around the leadership of SEC since the suspension of a former D-G, Mr Mounir Gwarzo, by a former Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun.

In a letter read at the Senate, Buhari had requested the red chamber to consider and approve the nomination of Yuguda as SEC D-G in line with the requirements of the “Investment and Securities Act’’.

Also to be confirmed are three other nominees as full-time SEC commissioners.

They are Reginald Karawusa, Ibrahim Boyi and Obisan Joseph.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Abdulfatah Babatunde (NAN)

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Economy

Shareholders applaud Union Bank’s enhanced profitability in 2019, approve dividend

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Shareholders of Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) Plc have commended the board and management for enhanced profitability achieved in 2019 financial year.

The bank, in a statement, said the shareholders gave the commendation at its first ever virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) on Tuesday in Lagos.

It noted that shareholders’ attendance at the AGM was by proxy, in keeping with physical distancing measures put in place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs Beatrice Hamza Bassey, the bank’s Chairman, was quoted in the statement as saying that 2019 was a very impressive year.

Bassey highlighted some of the bank’s key achievements in 2019 as the launch of alpher, the bank’s proposition for women, and the introduction of digital loan offerings.

She said that the issuance of a fully subscribed Tier-2 N30 billion bond and the board’s recommendation of a dividend payment to its shareholders owing to its overall strong performance were also major achievements of 2019.

“On behalf of the board, I am pleased to inform our shareholders that we have recommended a dividend payment for the first time in over a decade.

“We remain committed to delivering high-quality earnings to our shareholders, and I am pleased to announce we were able to deliver this in 2019, despite the challenging operating environment.

“We remain focused on delivering value to our shareholders as we continue to drive growth and profitability of our business towards sustaining this trend,” she said.

Commenting on the bank’s performance in 2019 and plans for 2020, Mr Emeka Emuwa, its Chief Executive Officer, said it emphasised revenue productivity and efficiency across board.

“In 2019, we continued to emphasise revenue productivity and efficiency across all facets of our business.

“We were focused on further leveraging the platform (people, technology, brand and infrastructure) we have steadily built over the years to drive sustainable growth in earnings and profitability.

“Our efforts yielded positive results as we witnessed major feats across all our priority areas.

“We remain committed to delivering improved profitability and higher returns in 2020 and beyond.

“Returning value to our shareholders has been at the core of Union Bank’s transformation and continuous drive to become a leading financial institution in Nigeria.

“Notwithstanding the tough operating environment, we remain focused on our strategy and ambition as we strive towards achieving our ambition to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted banking partner,” Emuwa said.

The shareholders at the AGM approved the recommended dividend of 25k per 50k ordinary share.

Major highlights of the bank’s financial performance in 2019 show that profit before tax grew by 33 per cent to ₦24.7 billion from ₦18.7 billion in 2018.

Gross earnings grew by 14 per cent to N159.9 billion from N140.1 billion in 2018.

Customer deposits also increased by five percent to ₦ 886.3 billion compared with ₦844.4 billion in 2018.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Banking

Access Bank 2019 performance, dividend payment excite shareholders

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Access Bank Plc shareholders on Thursday commended the board, management and staff for the impressive performance recorded in 2019 financial year in spite of challenging operating environment.

The shareholders gave the commendation at the bank’s 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) held by proxy in Lagos due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), lauded the bank for improved results and dividend payment.

Nwosu said the dividend was very timely given the difficulties created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said Access Bank had a good foresight by merging with defunct Diamond Bank Plc.

“The professional and seamless manner with which  the integration was done should be commended and shareholders appreciate the board and management,”Nwosu ssid.

According to him,  the future remains very bright for the all shareholders, considering the synergy the merger has brought to the bank.

He said that they would also benefit from the expertise the management and staff continued to deploy to maintain a leading role in the retail banking space.

Nwosu also lauded leading efforts of Access Bank in the private sector-led Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID), to support the Federal Government to fight the pandemic.

Also speaking,  Mrs Bisi Bakare of Pragmatic Shareholders Association of Nigeria, noted that unlike some of its competitors, the bank had recorded increased profit in the past three years.

 “Shareholders have confidence in  the board and management to continue to deliver improved performance, going forward,” she said.

In his address, Dr Herbert Wigwe, the bank’s Group Managing Director/CEO, said  the group delivered a 26 per cent increase in gross earnings of N666.8 billion, from N528.7 billion in 2018.

According to him, the company recorded interest income growth of 41 per cent from previous levels to N155.9billion, despite declining interest rate environment.

“The effects of an enlarged loan book contributed significantly to the interest income growth of N155.9 billion (+41 per cent y/y), leading to strong bottom-line figures.

“The net effect on operating income resulted in strong profit before tax (PBT) of N115.4billion, as against N103.2 billion achieved in 2018.

“The strength of the performance reflects a growing franchise supported by digital capabilities and improving customer service touchpoints.

“The retail business gained momentum, leveraging opportunities in key sectors to consolidate market share dominance through our digital loans.

“The wholesale business also continued to soar in the year, following intense marketing drive and continued investment in the sector to deliver stronger synergies,” he said.

Wigwe said the bank ended the year with profit after tax  of N97.51 billion, up from N94.98 billion in 2018, and paid a final dividend of 40k to bring the total dividend to 65k per share.

Wigwe explained that the merger with Diamond Bank produced a truly diversified institution with remarkable retail presence and solid wholesale market share.

“This has propelled us towards achieving our five- year strategic objectives to create the largest bank in Nigeria by total assets as well as largest in Africa by customer base with over 36 million unique customers across the network.

“Using an agile approach and with strong dedication, we have achieved a significant milestone in financial services on the continent whilst delivering the fastest and most seamless customer integration globally.

“With the emergence of the new entity, the bank is well-positioned to cater to the retail business through a broader reach and product offerings tailored to individual customer needs and delivered efficiently.

“Access Bank is now a tier one retail banking franchise with strong digital payments capabilities and benefiting from a diversified business mix,” he said.

Wigwe said the bank was already addressing the issue of  high operating expenses and taking drastic  measures to ensure that expenses were reduced significantly.

He said that the effect would be felt mostly in the second, third and final quarter of 2020.

Speaking on how Access Bank was running its business in the COVID-19 period, the GMD assured that it had put in place a robust business continuity process, enough to sustain its performance going forward.

“Access Bank was well prepared for the COVID-19 early enough and created ways of working from home and working with our customers.

“We set up links with our customers and many ways of reaching out to our customers three or four times in a day.

“This happened even before we started working with the larger society and enabled us to start fighting this pandemic.

“So, Access Bank has put a system in place and is now working with CACOVID to make sure that everyone knows what he is doing,” he said.

Edited By: Angela Okisor/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Economy

FBN Holdings shareholders endorse N13.64bn dividend in 2019

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Shareholders of FBN Holdings Plc on Monday approved a total dividend of N13.64 billion declared by the company for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2019.

The shareholders gave the approval at the company’s eighth Annual General Meeting (AGM) by proxy monitored live on You Tube by the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.

NAN reports that the dividend translated to 38k per share, compared with 26k paid in the comparative period of 2018.

Speaking at the meeting, a shareholder, Mr Matthew Akinlade, commended the company for the dividend and impressive results achieved in 2019 in spite of challenging business environment.

Akinlade said that the company’s operating indices showed that a lot of progress was recorded in 2019.

“Looking at the various indices, it shows the company has made a lot of progress in 2019 in spite of difficulties encountered during the period,” he said.

Akinlade said shareholders were very happy with enhanced dividend declared by the company during the period, urging that it should be improved upon in the years ahead.

Mr Sunny Nwosu, Founder, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria ((ISAN), said the dividend approved was well appreciated by the shareholders.

Nwosu, who described the dividend as good thinking, good product, called on the board and management of the company to ensure enhanced performance in future

Mr Adebayo Adeleke, another shareholder, commended the company for outstanding performance it recorded in 2019.

Adeleke advised the company to reduce the level of concentration in oil and gas sector in view of current oil prices and local deregulation.

He said that sectoral allocation to agriculture sector, presently at 3.2 per cent, should be reviewed in line with present realities.

Adeleke lauded the company for reduction in impairment charges as well as Non Performing Loan (NPL) which stood at 9.9 per cent in 2019 against 24.7 per cent in 2018.

He, however, urged investors to take advantage of the current company’s price trading at a great discount to increase their stake.

Responding, Mr Urum Kalu Eke, the company’s Group Managing Director, assured the shareholders that FBN Holdings would continue to improve on its performance and NPL in the years ahead.

Eke said loans given out in the last three years were within NPL of less than one per cent.

He told the shareholders that the group’s commercial bank subsidiary had been cleaned and transformed.

According to him, the commercial bank  in 2019 paid dividend to the holding company for the first time in five years.

Speaking on its insurance subsidiary, Eke said the company had not sold the insurance business to anybody.

He said the company was still discussing with its partners, noting that its primary business was to invest or divest a business.

Eke noted that enhancement of shareholders value would remain paramount in any business decision.

“We will make full disclosure at the end of the decision, but whatever decision  that will be made will be in the interest of shareholders and to strengthen the holding company,” he said.

Dr Adesola Adeduntan, FirstBank Chief Executive Officer, said the bank had invested heavily in technology and human capital to maintain leadership in the industry.

Adeduntan said the bank was a clear leader when it came to electronic business, with large volume of transactions in ATMs, USSD  and agency banking, among others.

He disclosed that 23 per cent of the traffic of e-channels in the country was controlled by the bank.

Adeduntan said the bank remains the biggest lender to the agriculture sector and would continue to partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria to strengthen the sector.

“But we will not do it to the detriment of depositors and shareholders money,” he promised.

Edited By: Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Economy

Lockdown: Shareholders’ association optimistic on capital market

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Mr Eric Akinduro, the Chairman of Ibadan Zone Shareholders Association, has expressed optimism of a positive outcome for the capital market inspite of the lockdown due to the COVID-19.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Ibadan. Akinduro said there had been considerable activities in the capital market.

“The situation we find ourselves in is one which nobody envisaged and we don’t have an option than to cope with what is happening now particularly in the capital market.

“The capital market cannot be exempted from what is happening in the economy; though now the capital market is still very active but not as strongly as we expected as shareholders.

“If you look at the capital market, the activities within two to three days seem positive because we see appreciation of some stocks in spite of the lockdown.

“We only pray for the situation not to last long and with time we believe everything will be okay,” he said.

He, however, noted that some shareholders were not comfortable with the holding of Annual General Meeting (AGM) by proxy.

Akinduro said his association was not against AGM by proxy, which he described as ” a child of circumstance.”

“I think as shareholders we need to support companies coming up with proxy AGM as whatever any shareholder wants to suggest or criticise with the companies can be done outside AGM.

“There is always room for you as a shareholder to pass your constructive criticism or suggestions to the board of the company either online or otherwise.

“So AGM floor is not mainly for shareholders to continue to criticise or make suggestions, it can be done when it is not AGM period.

” Especially for shareholders that reside outside Lagos, we do not really object to what the companies are doing because if we have any feedback we know the channel to the companies.

“To this end, we are not against companies holding AGM by proxy, let them just do what is right.

“So far they are doing what is right as the managers of our investments; so they should do the best to move the company and our investment forward,” Akinduro said.

Speaking on the issue of dividend payments, the chairman said that since there was lockdown everywhere, shareholders need something to cushion the effect of the current lockdown.

“So if our dividend is going to be paid during this lockdown, it is a welcome development to the shareholders.

NAN reports that Ibadan Zone Shareholders’ Association has membership drawn from the six states of Ekiti, Kwara, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo.

(
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo) (NAN)

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Economy

Shareholders applaud GTBank’s decision to hold AGM by proxy

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Shareholders of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Plc. on Thursday lauded the bank’s decision to go ahead with the 2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) in spite of COVID-19.

The shareholders made the commendation in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos, while reacting to the bank’s plan to hold AGM slated for March 30 by proxy, to minimise social contact.

NAN reports that GTBank on March 25, in a notice to its shareholders and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), said that the Corporate Affairs Commission granted its request to hold the meeting by proxy.

According to Investopedia, proxy is an agent legally authorised to act on behalf of another party or a format that allows an investor to vote without being physically present in a meeting.

Shareholders not attending a company’s AGM may vote their shares by proxy by allowing someone else to cast votes on their behalf, or they may vote by mail.

The bank had expressed concerns over the health hazards arising from the coronavirus pandemic, which could heighten by public gatherings.

“We are pleased to inform you that the Corporate Affairs Commission has graciously approved that the AGM should hold with attendance by proxy, to minimise social contact.

“Shareholders are encouraged to appoint proxies to represent them at the meeting, as the company would abide by the Lagos State Government directive of not having more than 25 people in a gathering (or any number as may be permitted at the date of the meeting),”  the bank said in the notice.

Commenting on the issue, Mr Moses Igbrude, immediate Publicity Secretary,  Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), commended the bank for the idea.

“Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention.

” Many companies postponed their AGMs because of COVID-19 pandemic, but GTBank decided to be strategic by exploiting other available ways of holding AGM instead of postponing it and delaying dividend payment which shareholders need most at this critical time,” Igbrude said.

The shareholder activist said that the bank had proved to be strategic and innovative.

He said that ISAN had nominated its Founder, Mr Sunny Nwosu, to be its proxy at the AGM.

Mr Ambrose Omordion, the Chief Operating Officer, InvestData Ltd., also hailed the bank for the initiative.

“It is a welcome development.

“The bank has domonstrated commitment to creating value for its shareholders for having faith in its management.

“It is also an indication that investors will get their dividends needed at this trying period,” Omordion said.

Edited By: Olawunmi Ashafa/Ijeoma Popoola
(NAN)

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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