Zenith Bank Plc has proposed a 95 kobo dividend pay-out to investors as it holds its annual general meeting today.
The bank in an audited result issued by the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) said that the dividend would be paid on April 3.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said the bank also announced gross earnings of N244.1 billion compared to the N192.5 billion it recorded in 2010.
Profit after tax stood at N44.2 billion compared with N37.4 billion in 2010, while its Net Asset Value rose by 4.6 per cent to N380.3 billion as against N363.6 billion posted in 2010.
The dividend proposal for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2011 is better than the 85k per share paid on March 9, 2010 to shareholders.
The reaction of shareholders has been positive as most investors hail the board and management of the bank for demonstrating a commitment to repay them for the losses they have suffered these past years as a result of the country’s harsh economic weather.
The shareholders described the bank’s dividend policy as a “proactive mechanism to rekindle investors’ interest and boost market liquidity.
President of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Boniface Okezie, said that Zenith Bank’s result was a reflection of the bank’s management and business thrust.
“It takes hard work and good management to make profit in Nigeria considering the harsh operating environment,” Mr. Okezie said. “At the market price of about N13 per share and a proposed dividend of 95k under a depressed economic atmosphere, it is a better way of rewarding shareholders.”
The General Secretary of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), Adebayo Adeleke, described the result as heartwarming.
“We are not expecting 95k dividend because of the banking sector problems of three years ago,” he noted. “The result in the face of the reforms will now be the bench mark for other banks. It will stimulate a kind of pressure for other banks to perform.”
Former Publicity Secretary of the Nigerian Shareholders Solidarity Association, Gbadebo Olatokunbo, said that the result of the bank was the fallout of the ongoing banking reforms in the country, pointing out that the bank’s dividend payout was a welcome development and a better way to compensate shareholders in these harsh times.