The Group Chief Executive Officer, FBN Holdings Plc, Mr. Bello Maccido, on Thursday said a subsidiary of the group, Kakawa Discount House Limited, has been given a merchant banking licence by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
According to Maccido, the central bank approved the licence on Tuesday, five months after Kakawa Discount House applied for it.
The FBN Holdings CEO spoke at FBN groups Annual General Meeting, which was held in Lagos.
“To have a merchant banking licence will be beneficiary to the shareholders medium to long-term,” he said, adding that the licence would boost dividend payment to shareholders in the future, especially as FBN Holdings had in 2014 increased its holding in Kakawa Discount House to 100 per cent from 46 per cent.
FBN Holdings had declared a dividend of 10 kobo for the 2014 financial year (and a bonus of one share for every 10 held), a figure less than the N1.10 dividend proposed by the board of directors for the 2013 financial year, which amounts to N35.895bn.
Maccido, however, told the shareholders that the drop in dividend was due to the reduction of the dividend the group received from its subsidiaries, including First Bank of Nigeria.
He explained that FBN Holdings retained profits because of the increased capital requirement of the CBN as a result of the adoption of Basel 2 capital accord in 2014.
He added that the group was negatively affected by the increase in Cash Reserve Requirement, losing N68bn revenue in 2014 as a result.
According to him, as a result of the decision to retain profit, the group’s capital adequacy ratio is good for business.
He said, “FBN has reduced its pay-out ratio and retained substantial portion of profit to boost capital which impacted the capacity of FBN Holdings to pay dividends. With the retention of N79.6bn, we are confident that the capital adequacy ratio is adequate for business in the short to medium term.”
Shareholders of the group, who spoke at the event, called on its board and management to work towards paying a higher dividend and consolidating the positives of the year under review.
The President, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Boniface Okezie, on his part lamented the payments being made by the group to the CBN, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation.
According to him, such payments are eroding value for shareholders and may force them to challenge the regulators in court.
He explained that if the bank had not made any payment to the regulators, the shareholders would have received a higher dividend.
“It is time to wake up and challenge the CBN, AMCON, etc.; our regulators are reckless and impunity is becoming too much in the system,” he said.
Another shareholder, the National Coordinator, Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Mr. Sunny Nwosu, called on the board to ensure that FBN Holding’s decision to retain profit would amount to greater dividend for the shareholders.
He also called for the payment of an interim dividend to augment the 10 kobo and bonus of one share for every 10 held.
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Source : Punch