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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Coronavirus Can’t Stop Zenith, First, Access Bank Directors from Pocketing N14.89bn Dividends

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The directors of some of Nigeria’s largest banks including Zenith, First and Access Bank will take home a combined N14.64 billion in final dividends even as the economy reels from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently advised banks not to pay out dividends due to the economic impact of the pandemic analysts told MoneyCentral that most firms have decided not to cut back on already declared dividends for the 2019 financial year.

The bank directors are investors and they will not want to short change themselves, analysts told MoneyCentral.A breakdown of the payment shows president and founder of Zenith Bank, Jim Ovia, is set to receive dividends of N12.64 billion as gleaned from the lender’s 2019 audited financial statement.

The billionaire is the single major shareholder of Zenith Bank, Nigeria’s largest bank by Asset Base, owning directly and indirectly (Institutional investors Ltd, Lurot Burca Ltd, Jovis Nigeria Ltd, Veritas Registrars Ltd, Zenith General Insurance Ltd, Zenith Securities Ltd) about 5,059,336,405 shares out of the 31,396,493,787 ordinary shares available. This gives him a 16 percent stake in the bank.

Zenith Bank Plc had declared a final dividend of ₦2.50 per share for 2019.

Urum Kalu Eke Group MD of FBN Holdings (owners of First Bank of Nigeria) with direct holdings of 65. 1 million shares will receive dividends of N24.77 million. This comes after the bank declared final dividends of N0.38 share for 2019.

MoneyCentral had earlier reported how the Eke increased his stake in FBNH by purchasing 5 million new shares of the bank at an aggregate price of N5.67 per share for a total consideration of about N85 million.

Segun Agbaje, the Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Bank Plc will get N104 million in dividends.

The captain of the largest lender by market value in Africa’s largest economy has direct holding of 32,146,651 shares and indirect holdings of 9,481,350 shares for a total of 41.6 million shares. GTB announced a final dividend of N2.5 per share.

Hebert Wigwe, CEO Access Bank had direct holdings of 201.2 million shares and 1.24 billion indirect shares through (United Alliance Company of Nig., Ltd, Trust and Capital Limited) for a total of 1.441 billion shares.

Wigwe will receive N576 million after Access Bank declared final dividend of N0.40 per share.Wigwe recently spent N46.2 million to purchase 6.8 million ordinary shares of Access Bank in the open market.

Ifeoma Esiri, a director in Stanbic IBTC Holdings; Ramesh Rajapur, director in Sterling, and Ladi Balogun, Group CEO of First City Monument Bank, will pocket a combined N1.55 billion in dividends.

For regular investors there were proxies who represented them during Annual General Meetings (AGM), amid the coronavirus Pandemic according to Boniface Okezie, Chairman-Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria-PSAN.

“What Federal Government should be doing is to give companies more tax incentives,” said Okezie.

Some of the Banks have announced donations for the coronavirus crises in the range of N1 billion, including Access, GTB and Zenith Bank, much less than some directors received in dividend payments.

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