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UBA Delights Shareholders; Distributes N27.2bn in Dividends

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The shareholders of the pan-African financial institution, the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc applauded the Board, Management and Staff at the 55th Annual General Meeting of the Bank, held in Lagos on Friday April, 7, 2017. UBA shareholders approved the payment of N19.9 billion as final dividend for the financial year ended 31st December 2016, in addition to N7.3 billion interim dividend paid after the audit of its 2016 Half Year Results.

The shareholders, who unanimously approved the N0.55/share final dividend on every ordinary share of N0.50 each were particularly impressed by the new Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who delivered unprecedented results to shareholders at his inaugural AGM. UBA had earlier paid an interim dividend of N0.20/share to shareholders, bringing the total dividend for the 2016 financial year to N0.75kobo, an impressive 25% growth over the total dividend of N0.60/share paid for the 2015 financial year. Furthermore, the total dividend of N0.75/share translates to an unparalleled yield of 14.3% when put in the perspective of UBA’s share price of N5.26 on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, as at the close of market on Friday, April 07, 2017.

The Shareholders were excited at the sterling performance of the Group, an impressive 22% year-on-year growth in gross earnings and an outstanding 32% year-on-year growth in profit to N91 billion, in what analysts described as an attestation to UBA’s resilience and enhanced productivity.

Worthy of note to the shareholders is the contribution from the Group’s African subsidiaries, emphasizing its earnings diversification, across geographies which reduces the Group’s vulnerability to macroeconomic pressures in any single market. The Group’s ex-Nigeria subsidiaries contributed 32% of the Group’s profit in 2016, compared to a quarter of profit contribution in the 2015 financial year.

Notwithstanding the challenging operating environment, the Group recorded an impressive 22% growth in gross earnings to N384 billion in 2016, from N315 billion in the 2015 financial year, illustrating the Bank’s resilience and tenacity to generate earnings even in periods of economic slowdown.

The Group further achieved a significant 32 percent growth in profit before tax to N91 billion, compared to N68 billion profit recorded over the same period of 2015. UBA’s profit after tax grew by 22 percent to N72 billion, from N60 billion recorded the previous year.

President of the Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Alhaji Farouk Umar, said at the AGM, “It is obvious from the faces of shareholders that all of us are happy with the performance of the bank. We did not expect anything less because we know that that our chairman is an achiever not only locally but also internationally. We have seen the African expansion and its contribution to our earnings and I believe this is also commendable.”

The Group Chairman, UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, gave credit to the chairpersons of UBA subsidiary Boards across Africa saying ‘these hard working men and women, who chair the Boards across our businesses in Africa, have helped contribute a third of the overall profit of the Group. I believe they deserve commendation. They are strengthening UBA brand across Africa, in line with our aspiration.” He was particularly pleased with the Bank’s new CEO, Kennedy Uzoka. ‘At the Board level, we are extremely pleased by the financial performance that Kennedy and his team delivered in 2016. Kennedy and his team prioritize the Customer and they are diligently executing the Customer First project, which the Board believes will sustainably enhance the performance of the Group’ said Elumelu.

“Our results show the tenacity and enterprise of our Management team and Staff. More importantly is our ability to proactively meet customers’ need. I am pleased that UBA maintains some of the best prudential ratios in the industry, as our capital adequacy ratio of 20% and 39% liquidity ratio are well above the 15% and 30% regulatory requirement respectively. We will be prudent in lending to critical growth sectors of the African economies, as we remain upbeat on the huge banking opportunities in Africa’, he added.

He also used the occasion to commend the Federal Government of Nigeria and Central Bank of Nigeria on their concerted policy actions aimed at reflating the Nigerian economy. ‘I will like to encourage them to continue along this path, which I believe willstimulate the country’s economy in the shortest possible time’.

The Group CEO, Kennedy Uzoka assured the shareholders of a better 2017. “As we further our Customer First Philosophy, we are approaching 2017 with stronger optimism, especially as the outlook remains positive in most of our markets. We are not unaware of the macro economic challenges, competition and constantly changing customer preferences. Rather, we believe we are well equipped to win in the market. We will further sweat our unique Pan- African platform to improve productivity, extract efficiency gains and grow our share of customers’ wallet across all business lines and markets. We will continue to build on our strong governance culture, zero-tolerance for infractions and transparency in furthering our frontiers of leadership in the African market.

United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) is a leading pan-African financial services group with presence in 19 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France.

UBA was incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company after taking over the assets of the British and French Bank Limited who had been operating in Nigeria since 1949. The United Bank for Africa merged with Standard Trust Bank in 2005 and from a single country operation founded in 1949 in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy – UBA has become one of the top providers of banking and other financial services on the African continent. The bank provides services to about 14 million customers globally, through one of the most diverse service channels in sub-Saharan Africa with over 1,000 branches and customer touch points and a robust online and mobile banking platform.

UBA was the first Nigerian bank to make an Initial Public Offering (IPO), following its listing on the NSE in1970. It was also the first Nigerian bank to issue Global Depository Receipts (GDRs). The shares of UBA are publicly traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) and the bank has a well-diversified shareholder base which includes foreign and local institutional investors, as well as individual shareholders.

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My friend who warned against investing in Nigeria now taunting me – Aliko Dangote

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The President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has disclosed that his friend who earlier warned him against investing in Nigeria is now taunting him for ignoring his advice.

Dangote disclosed this in an interview with PREMIUM TIMES on Sunday just as reports quoted the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority as claiming that diesel from Dangote Refinery is of inferior quality.

“Four years ago, one of my very wealthy friends began to invest his money abroad. I disagreed with him and urged him to rethink his actions in the interest of his country.

“He blamed his action on policy inconsistencies and shenanigans of interest groups.

“That friend has been taunting me in the past few days, saying he warned me and that he has been proven right,” Dangote was quoted to have said.

He said he invested in the refinery to help solve a major issue in the country, wondering why some people were working against him.

He added, “As you probably know, I am 67 years old. In less than three years, I will be 70. I need very little to live the rest of my life. I can’t take the refinery or any other property or asset to my grave. Everything I do is in the interest of my country.’

“We have been facing a fuel crisis since the 70s. This refinery can help in resolving the problem but it does appear some people are uncomfortable that I am in the picture. So I am ready to let go, let the NNPC buy me out, run the refinery.

“This refinery can help in resolving the problem but it does appear some people are uncomfortable that I am in the picture. So I am ready to let go, let the NNPC buy me out, and run the refinery. At least the country will have high-quality products and create jobs.”

The 650,000 barrel-per-day refinery, which came to life last year after a decade of prolonged construction, cost $19 billion, more than double the initial estimate, promising to help wean Africa’s biggest oil producer off its reliance on fuel from overseas and save up 30 per cent of the total foreign exchange spent on importing goods.

On Sunday, the Federal Government, through the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority, said it was expecting fresh reports to confirm the real sulphur content of the diesel produced by the Dangote refinery as the company debunked claims of inferior fuel production.

The NMDPRA spokesman, George Ene-Ita, in an interview with The PUNCH, said the agency had done its job and would not engage in a media fight with anybody over the claims made by the NMDPRA Chief Executive, Farouk Ahmed, that Dangote’s diesel has more sulphur content than imported one.

According to Ene-Ita, the authority has about 15 engineers and scientists embedded in the Dangote refinery, whose fresh report about the refinery’s sulphur content will be out on Monday (today).

Africa’s richest man had earlier narrated how a cabal was blocking his moves to import crude and how it has been difficult to get products, slowing down operations.

But last week, the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority said the Nigerian government was yet to license the Dangote refinery to begin operations in the country.

The Chief Executive Officer, NMDPRA, Farouk Ahmed, disclosed this while speaking with journalists at the state House on Thursday, July 18.

According to Ahmed, the claims of ongoing efforts to scuttle the operations of Dangote refinery due to lack of supply of crude oil by International Oil Companies were not true, adding that the refinery was still at the pre-commissioning stage and has not been licensed yet.

Ahmed added that the diesel product of Dangote was below international standard, a claim which the businessman had refuted.

 

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Nigerians Lambast Lawmaker For Gifting Daughter Lexus SUV Amid Hardship, For Graduating From Secondary School

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Some Nigerians have taken to social media to lampoon Yusuf Gagdi, the lawmaker representing Pankshin/ Kanke/Kanam Constituency of Plateau State for gifting her daughter, Aisha, a brand-new Lexus RX SUV for graduating from Lead British International School in Abuja.

Gagdi a member of the All Progressives Congress in the House of Representatives seems to have literally stirred the honest nest as social media users took him to the cleaners.

Gagdi’s daughter also reportedly did well in her Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination, Daily Nigerian reports.

Pictures of the proud family and the luxury vehicle were posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page, showcasing the lavish celebration.

The extravagant gift, however, has sparked conversations about wealth inequality and spending habits among Nigerian politicians, especially amidst a struggling economy.

A Facebook user, Lawan Bala Muhammad wrote, “Just secondary school not university. That good representation”

Abubakar Alhaji Abubakar said Nigeria’s “democracy is in wheelchair”.

Abdul Muhammad said, “While his constituents are there without electricity, water, access road or job opportunities.”

“So she would be gifted a jet when she graduates from the university, mispriority of highest order!all the same,congrats to the young damsel,” King Sunday Ajayi wrote.

Adebanjo Joshua said, “SUV that worths more than #75M wasted on secondary school graduated daughter while his constituents are left unemployed and impoverished? God will punish you!”

Babadoko Kutigi wrote, “And they(politicians)keep on telling innocent and venerable Nigerians to be patient with government while add more millions to their reserves everyday by day.”

Ahmerd Muserh said, “How i wish! Such is happening amidst the uncertainty of twice meal for the masses. Nigeria is not a country, it’s a business organisation with heartless proprietors. Astagfirullah!”

Nura Isyaku Fagge wrote, “This is the same lawmaker pretending to pity our situation. He was once addressing the chamber nearly crying.. Mhm.”

Tpl Imrana Daura said, “He could have the money used in buying the car and settle school fees for the less privileged. At least he can for over 300 students in the Nigerian Federal University tuition fees system.”

Also, Ibrahim Magaji Alkasim said, “This car is worth 80-100 Million Naira. How long will it take a working class Nigerian to buy it?

“The politicians are nothing but bunch of looters, they milk the country dry and if you ask for 250k minimum wage they will say Nigeria doesn’t have that money to pay its workers. Always borrowing money from China, IMF and world Bank, they are the same people that will share the money as bogus allowances and mismanage the rest.”

“That is why as ordinary citizens it’s time for us to come back into our right senses and forget our differences, which they are using to divide us. Let us remember It’s us VS them!”

Musa Ibrahim Ahmed wrote, “And they’re still asking Nigerians to be patient. Someone who’s giving out a car worth 40m is asking someone who is struggling with 2 square meal to be patient.!!

“This life no balance at all..🙄 We must protests and bring an end to this inhumane treatment by the gov’t. Aluta continua.”

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Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui convicted in $1b fraud scheme

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A wealthy Chinese businessman Guo Wengui, a self-styled opponent of the authorities in Beijing, was found guilty of defrauding customers of more than $1 billion in a New York federal court on Tuesday, prosecutors said.

Guo presented himself as a fierce critic of the Chinese Communist Party and a fervent defender of democracy, while keeping links with US right-wing figure Steve Bannon, recently jailed in a separate case.

The FBI arrested Guo in March 2023 at his luxurious Manhattan apartment, in a building overlooking Central Park, accusing him of using his online fame to convince thousands of investors to fund his companies or projects.

They included GTV Media, and G/Clubs, which promised profitable investments or luxury services.

But instead of enriching his customers, their funds enabled him to live a life of lavish excess.

“Miles Guo, an exiled Chinese businessman and purported billionaire, brazenly operated several interrelated fraud schemes, all designed to fleece his loyal followers out of their hard-earned money so that Guo could spend his days in his 50,000 square foot mansion, driving his $1 million Lamborghini, or lounging on his $37 million yacht,” prosecutors said, referring to Guo by an alias.

A unanimous jury found Guo Wengui guilty of racketeering conspiracy and various securities fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering charges. He faces decades in prison.”

 

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