Shareholders of United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) have commended the bank’s management over the impressive financial performance achieved at the end of the 2017, financial year and particularly the remarkable achievements of its African subsidiaries which contributed over 45 percent of the group’s income.

The shareholders, at the bank’s 56th Annual General Meeting in Lagos on Monday, especially commended the staff, management and the Board over the higher amount to be paid out as dividends following the impressive performance.

For the financial year ended December 2017, the bank’s management proposed a total dividend per share of 85 kobo, comprising of 20 kobo interim dividend which was already paid by mid-2017 and a final dividend of 65 kobo, which was ratified by shareholders during the just concluded Annual General Meeting.

The Chairman, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, praised the GMD for his hard work in ensuring that the bank recorded improved performance in the year under review.

He explained: “I want to especially commend the management of UBA especially the Chairman, Tony Elumelu and GMD/CEO, Kennedy Uzoka, who have been managing activities of this great institution for the past two years.

“And so, we the shareholders urge you to continue to do more and would advise Uzoka and his management team not to rest on their oars but to work harder in ensuring that this momentum is sustained and even surpassed in the coming year.”

Shareholders also praised the bank on its recent announcement of promoting over 47 percent of its workforce, within the last 12 months, adding that it remained a commendable feat at period where many banks and companies had let go of a lot of their staff owing to the recession that rocked the country about two years ago.

“Truly the bank is doing well, and putting smiles not only on the faces of customers and shareholders, but also on the staff, we believe that when staff are satisfied, they will do more to attract more customers into the bank which will in turn grow our businesses, so we commend UBA for this and ask other banks to emulate this strategic step.”

Another shareholder, Mr. Timothy Adesiyan, commended the bank for being the first bank in Africa to embrace Artificial Intelligence technology into the banking space, through the introduction of UBA’s Leo. He also pointed out the various achievements of the bank in the year under focus, which according to him had not gone unnoticed by the World Bank.

Nonah Awoh, a shareholder and analyst, who also commended the bank for the performance also, tasked the management to do more to ensure that all the African subsidiaries contribute at least 50 percent to the bottom-line.

Addressing shareholders earlier at the event, the Group Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said the bank recorded strong growth in both top and bottom lines with N462 billion earnings and a 20 percent growth, over its performance in 2016.

He said: “Overall, our bank grew profit before tax by 16.1 percent to N105.3 billion. More importantly, the bank remains financially strong, our balance sheet is well protected and our commitment to exceeding regulatory requirements remains. We recently opened for operations in Mali, because that economy is a viable one and would contribute to our bottom-line. Mali will benefit from UBA’s presence there while UBA will also benefit from Mali.”

He said the bank will continue its investments as well as its donations to worthy causes.

On his part, the Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, promised shareholders that the team remained poised to do more in the coming year. “Given the operating environment in 2017, I am very pleased with our profitability – a significant 16.1 percent growth in profit before tax to N105.3 billion – whilst we have also focused keenly on operational efficiencies, illustrated by the reduction in our Cost-to-Income Ratio,” and we are well-positioned to achieve more in the next financial year.”