Nigeria’s commercial lender, Unity Bank Plc, has declared gross earnings of N44.59 billion for 2019 financial year, continuing a path to strong growth started in 2018 financial year, after the bank took bold corporate action to clean up its balance sheet in 2017.
The Bank has also posted PBT of N550m in its Q1, 2020 result released alongside with the 2019 Financial Year result to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Tuesday. A review of the Bank’s Q1 2020 result showed that the lender recorded growth in Profit After Tax (PAT) by 9% to N506.07 million as against N464.87 reported in the same quarter in 2019.
The audited 2019 full year result showed that the Bank recorded a Profit Before Tax (PBT) of N3.64 billion, while Profit After Tax (PAT) closed at N3.38 billion, thereby consolidating on the gains on the reforms instituted by the Bank to grow a healthy balance sheet since the past two years.
A review of the Bank’s performance shows a relatively strong growth across key financial metrics such as the Net Operating Income for the year ended December 2019 which rose by 76.39% to N23.211 billion from N13.159 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.
Net Interest Income also posted strong growth as it grew by 18.06% to N16.493 billion from N13.970 billion the previous year. This is even as the Bank’s Total Asset saw a 71.93% increase to close at N293.052 billion from N210.80 billion in the corresponding period of 2018.
The retail lender also recorded a total comprehensive income of N5.52 billion while Earnings Per Share stood at 28.94 Kobo.
The result further showed that having better positioned itself to advance credit to the economy through the cleaning up of its loan book in 2017, the Bank grew its loan books by 135.87% to N104.02 billion in 2019 as against the N44.10 billion it closed in 2018.
The Bank had embarked on several cost minimization initiatives that have continued to yield positive results. These measures led to a decrease in the Bank’s Total Operating Expenses to N19.57 billion in 2019 from N20.71 billion in 2018. The Bank will continue to implement these measures, which are aimed at building processes that attract efficiency gains in resource allocation throughout the Bank, to boost profitability and bring more value to shareholders.
Commenting on the results, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank, Mrs. Tomi Somefun said that “the potential in many aspects of the business as reflected in growing balance sheet of the Bank is indicative of market confidence in our repositioning efforts”.
“It is also noteworthy that playing in the Agriculture sector as part of growth strategy and as bulwarks to drive value chain businesses in many segments of the retail market has continued to pay off. Looking ahead, we shall consolidate on the gains in the agribusiness, capitalizing on the growing profile in the sector, whilst also focusing on the youth market with increased investment in technology”, She further stated.
According to her, “the quest to deepen our retail play will go hand in hand with our focus on digital innovations. Already, we have deployed USSD banking, carried out augmentation of the platform to introduce local languages and further drive financial inclusion and had also launched omni-channel to cater for all segments of the banking public, especially the underbanked. In the coming years, the Bank will be opening more channels and bundled products bouquet for identified cluster initiatives and also leverage and expand relationships with other partners to drive more growth in earnings and profits.”
In addition, the Bank has concluded arrangements to launch a healthcare product called UnityCares to tap into credit support intervention scheme for the Health sector being rolled out by Central Bank of Nigeria as stimulus packages to support the indigenous pharmaceutical companies and healthcare practitioners that hope to build and expand capacity.
The new UnityCare product will thus cater to improve access to affordable credits by players, reduce medical tourism and conserve foreign exchange as well as provide long-term, low-cost finance for healthcare infrastructural development, healthcare product manufacturing, healthcare services and pharmaceutical/medical product distribution and logistics services.
Analyst are of the view that many things will continue to play in favour of the Bank. Sone of these include the sustained effort of the Bank in the area of Agribusiness, the increasing attention of Government and other Agencies in the agriculture sector and the growing interest of the youths in the agribusiness, among others.