By EDU ABADE
United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has released its unaudited results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2022, recording growth across its income lines. The bank’s financial result, which was released to the Nigerian Stock Exchange showed that gross earnings rose by 18.3 per cent from N155.4 billion in 2021 to N183.9 billion; while operating income, which stood at N106.6 billion as of March 2021, grew by 18 per cent to N125.9 billion in the year under review.
The results revealed that the bank’s total assets also rose by 4.1 per cent to N8.9 trillion in the period under review, compared to N8.5 trillion recorded in 2021, while shareholders’ funds grew by 2.6 per cent to N825.7 billion from N804.8 billion in the corresponding period. Leveraging on the growth in interest and non-interest income, the bank’s profit before tax (PBT) rose to N44.5 billion as of March 2022, up from N40.6 billion in the previous year, while profit after tax stood at N41.5 billion.
The bank also sustained its strong profitability by recording an annualised 20.4 per cent Return on Average Equity (RoAE). Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, explained that despite the myriad of economic challenges on the global front which shaped the first three months of the year, the bank’s business model continued to show resilience.
These challenges among others, he noted include the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine that has resulted in a huge supply shock, pushing up commodity prices; and the hike in the interest rates in most advanced countries aimed at tackling spiraling inflation, sparking capital flow reversal from emerging and frontier markets.
“Notwithstanding these developments, we were able to leverage gains from our large customer base and vast geographical spread to bolster earnings. We recorded doubledigit growth of 18 per cent in gross earnings to N183.9 billion, with our Nigerian operation raking in 65 per cent of the revenue, while our operations in other countries accounted for the remainder, showing the diversity in our operations,” he said.
Stressing the bank’s commitment to sustain value for its shareholders in the 2022 financial year, he said: “With strategies in place to further increase revenue and drive costs lower, we are determined to achieve our Cost-to-Income ratio target of below 60 per cent by year-end; and for 2022, we are committed to consolidating on the strong start, surpassing our goals and targets, as we look forward to delivering stronger returns to our esteemed shareholders.”
Breaking down the figures, Group Chief Finance Officer (GCFO), Ugo Nwaghodoh, said: “Our Q1 2022 financial numbers show that we have a good start. Particularly, I am pleased with how we deployed our balance sheet in the period to grow revenues and increase our market share in a number of West African markets. Driven majorly by interest from customer loans and our investments in long-dated instruments, we grew interest income by an unprecedented quarterly rate of 15 per cent to N125.1 billion.
“We drove down our annualised cost of funds by 11 basis points to 2.1 per cent. This was achieved despite the uptick in the interest rate environment in the period,” he said. He expressed confidence that the bank will meet and surpass its target for the remaining three quarters of the year, adding: “We remain well-capitalized and liquid to fulfill our growth strategy, take up opportunities in key sectors, while navigating impending macroeconomic headwinds.”