The Managing Director of First Bank Limited, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan on Thursday assured shareholders of FBN Holdings that the group will continue to push down cost of operations.
Answering questions from shareholders at the group’s Annual General Meeting in Lagos, he said that when he assumed office in January this year, the board and management resolved to turn around the group to enhance shareholders’ value.
According to him, the board primary focus is the quality of assets and reduction of impairment charges.
He said, “We are making efforts to ensure going forward, we do not suffer this level of impairment charges. We are putting technology in place that will help us have quality assets with high values.
“We take recovery very important to remediate the challenged accounts and we understand the issues at hand and we have what it takes to deal with it.”
He explained that growing the topline, manage risk effectively is the utmost focus of the board to deliver bigger dividends to shareholders.
Also, the Group Managing Director of FBH Holdings, Mr UK Eke, affirmed that the resolution of the shareholders is uniform with the board.
He said that ultimate objective of the board is to restore shareholders’ value, adding that he was one of the generations that benefited consistent dividends of the bank through his parents.
Eke, who added that the Merchant Bank and the FBN Insurance are doing well, reiterated that the board is committed to restore shareholders’ value.
The group reported a profit after tax of N15.1 billion for the year ended December 31, 2015, from N84 billion in 2014.
The bank was among those that had sent profit warnings to the stock market community, saying its earnings would be materially below 2015 levels as a result of the recognition of impairment charges on some specific accounts resulting from a reassessment of the loan portfolio within our commercial banking business.
Its results showed impairment charges of M119.3 billion, up from N25. 9 billion in 2014, though it recorded gross earnings of N505.2 billion, up from N481.8 billion in 2014.
“This has been a very difficult time in the history of our institution. Despite the tough macroeconomic and regulatory backdrop during the year, our underlying business remains strong as reflected in the gross earnings growth of 4.9 per cent to N505.2bn – clearly a leading position in the industry.
“Furthermore, the Holding company platform has provided support in mitigating the impact of credit losses and the vulnerabilities experienced by our Commercial Banking business,” Eke added.