Equity resumes dividend payout for the first time since 2018
Regional lender Equity Group has resumed the payment of dividends after the board approved the disbursement of record Kes11.3 billion, being a 50 percent increase from the last payment made in 2018.
The payout of Kes3 per share will be wired to shareholders on or before June 30. The bank posted a 98 percent jump in earnings per share to Kes10.4 from Kes5.2 previously.
The Group has realized Kes39.2 billion 2021 full-year net profit from Kes19.8 billion a year ago on account of higher income.
Group total operating income improved by Kes113.4 billion from Kes93.7 billion on increased lending to customers in the year.
In the year under review, Equity’s total operating expenses eased by 15.4 percent to Kes61.5 billion from Kes72.7 billion recorded in the period ended December 2020.
“Against a backdrop of uncertainty, the Group focused on supporting customers and in the process increased and accelerated loan disbursements and growth by over 29 percent and 23 percent for the two years respectively while the economy was plummeting to a GDP growth rate of -0.1 percent from a growth of 5.8 percent,” Equity Group CEO, Dr James Mwangi, explained.
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Lender’s loan loss provisions dropped by Kes78.2 percent to Kes5.8 billion from Kes26.6 billion.
The bank has seen its gross Non-Performing Loans came-down by 9.3 percent to Kes53.9 billion from Kes59.4 billion.
In the year under focus, the Group’s trade finance registered a 55 percent growth in revenue to Kes3.2 billion up from Kes2.1 billion.
“Non-funded income grew by 15 percent to Kes43.6 billion up from Kes37.8 billion driven mainly by trade finance, payment channels, and foreign exchange trading income,” said Dr Mwangi.
Further, foreign exchange trading income surged by 33 percent to Kes8.3 billion up from Kes6.2 billion driven by diaspora inflows that went up by 37 percent to hit Kes383.5 billion up from Kes279.4 billion a year earlier.
Dr Mwangi noted that the Group’s total assets increased by 29 percent to Kes1.305 trillion up from Kes1.015 trillion driven by a corresponding 29 percent uptick in customer deposits to Kes959 billion up from Kes740.8 billion.
Despite zero-rating of mobile transaction offerings in Kenya to cushion consumers, Equity’s financial disclosures show that transaction income expanded by 37 percent to Kes10.4 billion up from Kes7.6 billion owing to the positive impact of e-commerce and merchant banking business across the region.
The lender’s regional outfits posted record good returns and performance, achieving high returns in shorter period; and with Uganda and Rwanda becoming a high return subsidiary, Dr Mwangi said.