On May 31, 2011, Sterling Bank, the full-service Nigerian commercial bank, held its 49th annual general meeting (AGM) in Lagos.
At the meeting, Yemi Adeola, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, reaffirmed the determination of the Board and Management to deliver competitive returns to shareholders in the years ahead. His assurance was given against the background of the Bank’s return to profit in 2010 after the implementation of a comprehensive business review during the year.
Reacting to the latest results presented at the Annual General Meeting, shareholders commended the Bank’s performance which showed a Profit after Tax of N5.04 billion. This marks a significant recovery from the N7.2 billion loss reported in the corresponding period of 2009.
The shareholders also urged the Bank to sustain its drive for operational excellence and profitability, while inviting it to open more branches, which would provide customers with easier access to its array of products and services. In addition, the shareholders expressed their readiness to make new investments in the institution if a capital raising exercise is planned.
Responding to questions and comments from the shareholders, Adeola outlined the Bank’s plan to push performance and returns further. His action list includes continued profit growth enhanced by a strong balance sheet, improved cost-efficiency, investment in human capital, as well as the strengthening of operational and credit risk frameworks.
Giving an insight into Sterling Bank’s performance in the year under review, Adeola explained that two major items on the Bank’s agenda were to refine its strategy and strengthen its capital position, which was accomplished through the infusion of long-term debt capital.According to the Group Managing Director,
Leveraging that improved capital position as a basis for supporting institutional profitability is a key priority for our management team in the coming months and we expect to see the payoff in 2011. Hence we have set the four inter-related targets for 2011.
Continuing, the he added that in 2010, apart from recovering from its loss position in 2009, Sterling Bank made significant improvements in other areas.
Notably, Sterling Bank initiated a number of specific measures to increase the bank’s market share, improve operating efficiency, enhance deposit generation, lower funding costs and strengthened our capital position.
He reiterated the Bank’s positive outlook by noting that its non-performing loans declined by over 40% from N22.8 billion to N12.9 billion, while earnings per share stood at 40 kobo, up from a negative position of 72 kobo in 2009.