The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the shareholders gave the approval at the bank’s 27th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos.
They said that the date for the exercise should be determined by the board of directors after obtaining the requisite approvals of the regulatory authorities.
Boniface Okezie, the president, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), suggested that the new funds should be raised through bonds to avoid over bloating the bank’s share capital.
Mr. Okezie said that the bank should not consider rights issue or public offerings as the bank had floated a rights issue in 2015.
He, however, commended the bank for the improved results achieved in the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2015 and urged the bank to sustain the growth.
Mr. Okezie also urged the bank to adhere to good corporate governance in order to avoid payment of unnecessary sanctions from regulatory bodies.
Farouk Umar, the President, Association of Advancement of Shareholders’ Rights, said the bank was one of the few that had positive results in spite of the headwinds.
Mr. Umar also lauded the bank for a final dividend of 30k per share which brought the total dividend for the year to 55k per share.
Herbert Wigwe, the bank’s Group Managing Director, said the result reaffirmed the bank’s resolve to add value to shareholders’ investments in spite of the harsh operating environment.
“We achieved strong financial progress in 2015 as the group recorded a 44 per cent growth in PBT to ₦75 billion from ₦52 billion in 2014, with significant contribution from our securities trading business,” he said.
Mr. Wigwe attributed the growth to the bank’s diversified business model and robust risk management framework.
He said the capital raising exercise would be done at the appropriate time.
“We are not issuing anything now, we just want to get the shareholders’ approval, we will issue it at the appropriate time,” he stated.
Mr. Wigwe said that the bank would continue to take proactive steps to ensure optimisation of its capital structure in terms of both debt and equity to maintain a robust balance sheet.
Mosun Belo-Olusoga, the bank’s Chairman, said the capital raising would enable the bank maintain a robust Capital Adequacy Ratio and withstand regulatory headwinds.
Belo-Olusoga said that the bank would continue to grow in spite of external forces due to its strategic growth prospects.
NAN reports that the bank’s profit after tax grew to N66 billion as against N30 billion achieved in the comparative period.
Its gross earnings stood at N337.4 billion in contrast to the N245.4 billion in 2014, indicating a growth of 38 per cent.
Also, interest income grew by 17 per cent to ₦207.8 billion from ₦176.9 billion in the previous year due to improved income from lending activities and increased yield on investment securities.
The bank’s non-interest income stood at ₦129.4 billion, an increase by 89 per cent from ₦68.4 billion in 2014.