United Posts High Profits, Moderate Share Earnings




United Bank has declared a 50pc growth in its net profit, registering 573.6 million Br last financial year. The Bank also witnessed an increase in its earnings per share, amounting 35.39 Br.

The Bank becomes one of the first private financial institutions to report its financial standing using the International Financial Reporting System.

“This is a big year for us,” said Eyesuswork Zafu, board chairperson of the Bank. “Despite the expense for the headquarters building, the small interest in NBE bills and a shortage of forex, we became successful.”

Abdulmenan Mohammed, a financial expert with 15 years of experience, echoed Eyesuswork’s view.

“The bank’s performance is very impressive,” said Abdulmenan. “The shareholders must be delighted.”

The president of the bank points to the efforts made to diversify the services and the technological developments for the impressive annual performance and success.

“We have paid our dues by working to address the market demands,” said Taye Debekulu. “With our advanced electronic services, we made it here.”

The Bank’s income from interest on loans, advances and investments reached 2.2 billion Br – a 46pc rise. Unlike the previous period, the forex dealing also showed a 9.5pc increase to 141.4 million Br.

Shareholder returns has shown an increase after five years. The current earnings per share increased to 35.39 Br from 24.95 Br.

“The increase in shareholder returns is achieved as the Bank’s capital growth has slowed down,” Abdulemenan argued.

The president agrees, stating that shareholders finalised paying the requested one billion paid-up capital in three years, a year ahead of the deadline.

The Bank mobilsed deposits amounting to 23.1 billion Br. Compared to its previous performance, the bank registered a 28pc growth. Additionally, United disbursed 15 billion Br as loans and advances, showing a 26pc increase.

“The level of growth is much lower than the preceding year’s growth rate,” argued Abdulmenan.

For the president of the Bank, this seems manageable.

“The growth index might show a stagnation, yet considering the industry trend, United is by far the better.”

Shareholders are more than happy to see high profits and increased earnings per share.

“This year we have done better,” said Amsale Belay. “Yet we still need more time to deliberate and decide on the fundamental issues of the bank.”

The cost of advertising has doubled, reaching 12.9 million Br. The paid-up capital has also increased by 14pc to 1.8 billion Br, and the bank now has a capital adequacy ratio of 17.4pc.

During the meeting, the board’s proposal to increase the paid-up capital to five billion Br was accepted by the shareholders. The plan to float shares to the public with a 10pc premium was criticised.

“We finally explained the matter and reached a consensus,” Taye told Fortune. “We project to attain our capital increase plans in four years time.”

The bank doubled its market share to 14pc, which ranks it among the top six banks in the nation.

The cash and bank balance jumped to 4.5 billion Br with a 42pc increase from the previous year.

In the past fiscal year, the bank opened 22 new branches, bringing the number of operating branches to 229 with over 3,700 employees. United has trained 57.5pc of its staff with 50 training subjects. The Company has also enrolled 320 of its staff members in higher education during the budget year.

Analysing the cash book, the total cash and bank balances have increased by 42pc to 4.5 billion Br. The Bank’s balance-to-deposit ratio also rose by 1.6 percentage points to 19.6pc.

The expert suggested that the bank has to go the extra mile to push for slight improvements and halt the tight liquidity it’s facing.

“I think we have to exert more pressure on this,” Taye told Fortune. “Yet considering the industry, United is doing great.”

The Bank also invested 6.2 billion Br in purchasing five-year government bonds accounting for 22pc and 27pc of the total assets and deposits it holds.

United’s head office building is nearing completion. The Bank awarded its 32-storey and 1.5 billion Br headquarters construction project in 2015.

“Currently, we are working on the finishing tasks,” Taye told Fortune.

Besides the financial challenges, the current political atmosphere concerned the bank, which hired Deloitte Consulting last year to develop a roadmap with the main aim of pushing United to the top rung of banks in East Africa.

The majority of Ethiopians embrace the course of peace, mutual tolerance and a common destiny as if their lives, not just their wealth, depended on it, according to Eyesuswork.

“The vast majority of Ethiopians appear to have chosen to swim with the momentous tide rather than against it,” said the chairman in his speech addressing the assembly.

With the interest rate adjustment by the National Bank increasing by two percentage points following the devaluation of the Birr last year, the interest rate expense of the bank soured by 62pc.

Expert says banks will be compensated as the governing bank increased the interest rate on government bills.



By BEHAILU AYELE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Oct 27,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 965]


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