Shareholders of Zenith Bank Plc have approved N97.33 billion final dividend for the financial year ended December 31, 2021.
During the 31st Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the bank held yesterday in Lagos, the shareholders unanimously approved the proposed final dividend, and were excited at the final dividend payment of N2.80 per share.
This brought the total dividend for the 2021 financial year to N3.10 per share with a total value of N97.33 billion.
Speaking at the AGM, Founder and Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc, Jim Ovia, thanked the shareholders for their loyalty. He assured them of the bank’s commitment to consistently deliver superior value to shareholders.
The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive, Zenith Bank Plc, Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “If you look at the bank’s history over the years, Zenith Bank has always grown, and even within the pandemic, we have maintained a reasonable positive growth trajectory.”
He said the bank was deploying digital capability to grow more businesses, simplify service processes, make its processes more efficient, and deal with customers’ complaints.
“Apart from developing new products, we are discovering new business verticals, especially within the retail segment, which have significant revenue,” he stated.
Onyeagwu added that: “meeting the expectation of shareholders means we have to work harder. The team is dodged, hardworking, resilient, and above all, we have a very supportive board that comes with superior guidance”.
Commenting on the dividend payout, the Chairman Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu, expressed the delight of shareholders over the consistent payment of dividends by Zenith Bank.
Nwosu noted that the bank’s shares remained the toast of investors as it has never failed to pay dividends to shareholders.
President of the Association of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS), Faruk Umar, said: “The bank is doing very well. All the ratios and indices have gone up. More importantly, while we were in the meeting, I got my alert of the credit of my dividend. This is very commendable.
“The leadership of the bank has been very effective; we thank Jim Ovia for the leadership he has been giving, he has increased the dividend in spite of the economic hardship in the country, and I believe the GMD is doing very well. I commend the management and staff of the bank, including the board, and I am very confident that this year would also be very good for the bank.”
Umar also commended Onyeagwu for the numerous awards the bank received in 2021, especially the sustainability awards.
In spite of a challenging macroeconomic environment aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zenith Bank Group achieved year-on-year (YoY) growth in gross earnings of 10 per cent from N696.5 billion reported in the previous year to N765.6 billion.
This was on the back of a 23 per cent YoY growth in non-interest income from N251.7 billion to N309 billion and a two per cent YoY growth in interest income from N420.8 billion to N427.6 billion.
Profit before tax also grew by 10 per cent, from N255.9 billion to N280.4 billion in the current year.
The increase was due to growth in the top-line and very strong management of the treasury portfolio that increased efficiency, resulting in a drop in interest expense by 12 per cent from N121.1 billion in 2020 to N106.8 billion in the current year. This further led to a seven per cent increase in net interest income of N320.8 billion in 2021 from N299.7 billion in 2020.
Customer deposits increased by 21 per cent, growing from N5.34 trillion in the previous year to N6.47 trillion in the current year.