Access Bank Plc has announced profits of N41.1 billion in its unaudited financial results for the first quarter (Q1) ended March 31, 2019, representing an increase of 86.1 per cent from N22.1 billion in Q1 of 2018.
Access Bank, that recently merged with Diamond Bank officially began running the new enlarged entity on April 1, 2019, recorded a strong balance sheet as the Group closed the quarter ended March 2019 with total assets of N6.4 trillion from N4.9 trillion in 2018 full year.
The Group profit before tax increased from N27.4 billion in Q1 2018 to N45.1 billion in the Q1 2019, an increase by 64.4 per cent. Profit growth was aided by a 23 per cent improvement recorded in the group’s Net Interest income which closed the period at N56.8 billion from N44.7 billion in Q1 2018, as interest income rose to N95.1 billion from N87.2 billion.
In the period under consideration, Access Bank posted a net foreign exchange gain of N6.211 billion against the net foreign exchange loss of N6.821 billion in the same period of last year.
However, the fee and commission income dropped to N15.63 billion in Q1 2019 from N15.862 billion in Q1 2018.
Also, the earnings per share (EPS) of Access Bank grew to N1.39 in the first quarter of 2019 from 77 kobo printed in the first quarter of 2018.
Access by next week is expected to hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) after declaring an impressive 2018 audited results.
The lender had proposed a final dividend of N0.25 and interim dividend of N0.25, bringing total dividend for the year to N0.50kobo per share.
For the year ended December 31, 2018, the Access Bank’s Group reported a Profit before Tax (PBT) for the period was N103.2billion, showing 32per cent growth from N78.2billionin 2017 while Return on Average Equity (ROAE) stood at 19.0per cent in 2018 from 12.4 per cent in 2017.
Profit for the period also rose by 58 per cent from N60.1 billion in 2017 to N94.98 billion in 2018.
This record Profit Before Tax (PBT) was achieved through the Group’s optimisation of its cost of funds, cost-to-income ratio and cost of risk, ensuring that Earnings Per Share strengthened by 52per cent to N3.31 from N2.18 per share reported in 2017.
The group net Interest Margin (NIM) rose to 6.2 per cent in 2018 as average cost of funds dropped by 10 basis points to 5.5 per cent in 2018 from 5.6 per cent reported in 2017, showing the impact of decisive actions towards cost reduction during the period.
The Group Managing Director/CEO, Herbert Wigwe said, “As you are aware, the shareholders of both Access and Diamond Bank voted to approve the merger at the court appointed meetings that were held on March 5th 2019. Following that, I’m pleased to inform you that we have received Central Bank and SEC approvals and we anticipate the final court sanction shortly after. Subsequently, we will proceed with the launch of our new brand and begin business operations as a single entity by April 1st.
“Well as far as 2019 priorities are concerned, our focus is to deliver a seamless integration and an unbeatable customer experience with Diamond Bank and to drive sustainable growth of the combined entity. As such the following metrics reflect growth potentials we anticipate from the synergies to be realised in the course of the year. We believe that we’ll be able to achieve an ROE north of 20per cent, we will bring our NPL ratio’s down to well within 10per cent or single digit range.
“Our cost of risk, we think will be well within or rather less than 1.5per cent. We will bring our cost of income ratio in spite of the combination to well below 60per cent. We think we’ll be able to maintain a net interest margin not of six per cent. Of course the capital adequacy ratio in excess of 20per cent. A loan deposit ratio again of about 60per cent and our liquidity ratios remain north of 50per cent.”