Hope Rises For Sterling Bank Shareholders With Robust Q1 Performance

Yemi Adeola, MD/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc
Yemi Adeola, MD/CEO, Sterling Bank Plc

There are indications that the financial year ending December 31, 2013 holds good news for shareholders of Sterling Bank Plc as the bank recorded a good financial performance during its first quarter ended March 31, 2013.

Interim report and accounts of Sterling Bank for the three-month period ended March 31, 2013 showed that profit after tax rose by 96 per cent while profit before tax increased by 85 per cent. The net profit growth signaled robust returns outlook for investors as earnings per share rose by 89 per cent from 9.0 kobo recorded in first quarter 2012 to 17 kobo in first quarter 2013.

The first quarter report, prepared in line with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), showed gross earnings of N19.84 billion as against N16.21 billion recorded in comparable period of 2012. Profit before tax jumped from N1.63 billion to N3.02 billion while profit after tax leapt to N2.72 billion as against N1.39 billion.

The report underlined continuing improvement in the bank’s cost efficiency and growing market share. Pre-tax profit margin was 15.2 per cent in first quarter 2013 as against 10.1 per cent in comparable period of 2012. Deposits increased by 13.1 per cent within the three months from N466.85 billion recorded in December 2012 to N528.10 billion in March 2013. Total assets grew by 11 per cent to N645.07 billion as against N580.23 billion recorded in December 2012.

With stronger balance sheet, the bank continued to further economic growth and development. Loans and advances improved from N229.4 billion in December 2012 to N247.6 billion in March 2013. Shareholders’ funds firmed up to N49.30 billion compared with N46.64 billion that opened this year.

The first quarter report came on the heels of the audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2012, which showed a well-rounded performance with significant growths in incomes, profitability and assets management and efficiency.

The 2012 full-year report showed that the bank consolidated its growth and seamlessly harnessed the synergies from its recent acquisition with both outward and underlying performance indicators indicating marked improvements.

While gross earnings grew by 51 per cent, pre-tax profit doubled by 108 per cent while the proportion of non-performing loans to total loans portfolio improved considerably to negligible 3.8 per cent as against 4.8 per cent in previous year. Net interest margin improved from 5.0 per cent to 5.2 per cent underlying increasing profitability of the bank’s core banking operations in spite of the tough operating environment.

Gross earnings stood at N68.9 billion in 2012 as against N45.7 billion in 2011. Adjusted for income from discontinued operations, profit before tax grew by 108 per cent to N7.5 billion in 2012 as against N3.6 billion in 2011. With net profit after tax of N6.95 billion in 2012, the board of director has recommended 100 per cent increase in cash dividends to shareholders from 10 kobo paid for the 2011 business year to 20 kobo for 2012.

Commenting on the performance outlook of the bank, managing director, Sterling Bank Plc, Mr Yemi Adeola said the bank was well-positioned to sustain its growth noting that overall growth was being driven by improvement in core banking operations and efficient cost management.

According to him, the bank has been implementing several key initiatives to widen customer base and enhance customer satisfaction.

“We have also revamped our retail strategy through a number of initiatives for low end customers. Our physical infrastructure is being upgraded to capture a high-street retail look and feel; and restructured along the lines of hub and spoke delivery platforms,” Adeola said.

He reassured that ongoing initiatives would make the bank to be more efficient and profitable reiterating the commitments of the board and management to continuously deliver better and competitive returns to shareholders.