Finance

Investors jostle for Access Holdings over N53.32b dividends

Access Bank GMD buys 50 million additional shares

Upsurge in open buy orders is driving Access Holdings as one of the most-sought after stocks at the stock market as investors scrambled to take positions ahead of the closure of register for the holding company’s N53.32 billion dividends.

Access Holdings was the most active financial services stock and overall second most active stock at the stock market last week, sustaining a recent trend of activities that gathered momentum with the release of the group’s full-year 2022 and first quarter 2023 results.

Investors staked N16.27 billion on 1.59 billion ordinary shares of Access Holdings in 3,852 deals last week, representing 11.3 per cent and 27.57 per cent of the total traded volume and value during the week. Total turnover at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) last week stood at 14.029 billion shares worth N59.007 billion in 24,048 deals.

Market analysts said the increased bargain-hunting for the Access Bank’s holding company was due to opening up of market orders by investors seeking to benefit from the company’s latest dividend declaration.

“The rationale for this was because the qualification and closure date of Access Holdings for dividend is just a few days away which investors are positioning to partake in the dividend declaration,” analysts at Arthur Steven Asset Management stated at the weekend.

Access Holdings’ shareholders will receive a final dividend of N1.30 per share in addition to an interim dividend of 20 kobo, representing a total dividend per share of N1.50 for the 2022 business year. The dividend will be paid on May 24, 2023 to all shareholders on the register of the company as at the close of business on May 9, 2023.

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Key extracts of the audited report and accounts for the year ended December 31, 2022 had shown that the group recorded appreciable growth across revenue lines, despite the strong global and national macroeconomic headwinds. Gross earnings rose by 43 per cent and crossed the trillion naira mark to N1.39 trillion in 2022 as against N971.9 billion in 2021. Pre and post tax profits stood at N167.68 billion and N152.20 billion respectively.

The balance sheet of the group emerged stronger with total assets rising by 28 per cent from N11.73 trillion to in 2021 to N15 trillion in 2022. Customers deposit also rose by 33 per cent to N9.25 trillion as against N6.95 trillion. Loans to customers grew by 25 per cent from N4.45 trillion to N5.56 trillion. Shareholders’ funds increased by 17 per cent from N1.05 trillion to N1.23 trillion.    

The group’s three-month results for the quarter ended March 31, 2023 showed pre-tax profit of N81.59 billion in first quarter 2023 as against N65.56 billion in first quarter 2022. After taxes, net profit rose from N57.83 billion in first quarter 2022 to N71.66 billion in first quarter 2023.

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Group Chief Executive Officer, Access Holdings Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe, said the results showed the group’s deliberate focus on its strategies as it begins to see the dividends of organic and inorganic activities across the ecosystem.

He explained that the 37 per cent growth in interest income to N827 billion in 2022 was driven by a strong loan book growth despite the high inflationary environment, with net loans and advances to customers growing by 25 per cent across the banking group, with a deliberate focus on credit disbursement to critical segments and growth sectors of the economy.

He pointed out that the bank also saw good growth across the subsidiaries, with its United Kingdom subsidiary growing by 36 per cent to N1.1 trillion in 2022.

“Access Holdings ended the year with over 58 million customers across the extensive network of subsidiaries and business verticals. The company’s asset base grew to N15.0 trillion and customer deposits to N9.25 trillion, with CASA mix up by five per cent, to 63 per cent as a result of leveraging innovation, digital technology and financial inclusion to mobilize sustainable low-cost deposits.

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“In the second half of 2022, Access Holdings Plc completed the divestment from Pensions Custodian business and acquired significant shareholding in First Guarantee Pensions Ltd & Sigma Pensions Ltd to form Access Pensions Ltd. This combination resulted in the creation of the fourth largest pension fund administrator (PFA) in Nigeria, with asset under management of N0.9 trilion, putting us clearly in the league of strategic players in the Pensions industry.

“Our Payment business went live with the Switching business in third quarter 2022, while the other areas of the business will become fully operational from second quarter 2023. The overall business outlook for 2023 remains strong as we begin our new five-year strategic journey which aims to make us one of the top five financial services organisations in Africa by 2027,” Wigwe said.

Thenation

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