The board and management of Fidelity Bank Plc have assured shareholders that the bank is on a strong pedestal to sustain growth and make better returns to shareholders.
This came as shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos commended the bank for earmarking N3.2 billion as dividends for shareholders for the 2017 business year. Shareholders approved the dividend payout, representing a dividend per share of 11 kobo.
Fidelity Bank Chairman, Mr Ernest Ebi, said the bank has been strategically positioned to navigate the business environment and make better returns to shareholders in the year.
He said the performance of the bank in the previous year underlined the resilience of its growth strategy noting that expected improvement in the operating environment in 2018 should translate into improved performance for the bank.
According to him, expected improvements in the global landscape would expectedly trickle down to the domestic economy to consolidate the comforting business climate witnessed towards the end of 2017.
Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, said the bank would continue to focus on enhancing its systems and processes to continuously improve service delivery and place itself in a better position to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the economy.
He said the bank would deepen its cost optimisation initiatives to reduce operating expenses and cost-to-service ratios as part of efforts to retain greater values for shareholders.
“Clearly, our success in 2017 financial year has set a strong pedestal for sustained growth in revenue. We are optimistic about a favourable operating environment and we look forward to delivering decent set of numbers at the end of 2018 financial year, “ Okonkwo said.
Shareholders who spoke at the meeting commended the bank for what they described as impressive performance last year.
Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders (AARNS) President, Dr Farouk Umar noted that the payment of dividend by Fidelity Bank confirms the strength of the bank.
According to him, shareholders had panicked when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that banks with low Capital Adequacy Ratio and high non-performing loan would not be allowed to pay dividend.
“For Fidelity Bank to declare dividend showed that it is in the good books of the CBN,” Umar said.
Another shareholder, Mr Moses Ogundeji, a member Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, also praised the management of the bank, urging them to turn in better returns in 2018.
Key extracts of the audited report and accounts of Fidelity Bank for the year ended December 31, 2017 showed that profit after tax rose by 94 per cent to N18.9 billion in 2017 compared with N9.7 billion in 2016. Profit before tax had risen by 83.6 per cent to N20.3 billion in 2017 from N11.0 billion in 2016.
Net interest income had increased by 15.4 per cent to N71.5 billion in 2017 while net operating income rose by 9.9 per cent from N86.0 billion in 2016 to N78.3 billion in 2017. Gross earnings grew by 18.3 per cent from N152.02 billion in 2016 to N179.9 billion in 2017. Total assets increased to N1.379 trillion in 2017 as against N1.298 trillion in 2016.