By NBF News
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By Amaka Abayomi
Stanbic IBTC Bank has grown its profit before tax by 31 per cent to N13.5bn in the financial year ended December 2010, while its total assets increased to N384.5bn.

According to the audited results for the year just made public, the profit before tax grew by 31 per cent to N13.5bn as against the N10.3bn recorded in December 2009.

Gross earnings eased by 5 per cent to N56.7bn, compared with prior year's N59.8bn, while total assets went up 13 per cent from N340.5bn in December 2009.

CEO, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Chris Newson, emphasized that the bank is strategically primed to achieve higher growth in the years ahead despite the tough operating conditions.

'The Group produced good results in the first nine months of 2010 and I'm pleased to announce that this trend continued into the final quarter of the year.

'Despite the testing operating environment, we have grown our business responsibly and have made good progress in expanding our loan book.

'We recorded a 41 per cent increase on December 2009's levels of gross loans, with a corresponding 24 per cent reduction in our non-performing loans portfolio.

'This is testament to our ability to unlock profitable investment outlets in the face of significant market liquidity and efficiency of our risk management systems.'

Long term strategic growth and profitability are anchored on the bank's current branch expansion project, Newson said, the overall objective being to avail a growing number of Nigerians access to its services and products, while other fundamen-tals are being strengthened for enhanced performance and efficiency.

'Our cost efficient branch roll out strategy saw us open 71 new branches in 2010, bringing our total number of branches in Nigeria to 141 as at year end 2010.

'We are now present in all the 36 states of the country, including the FCT.

'The bank continued to maintain its tradi-tional signature capital strength and healthy liquidity position throughout the year, and is well-positioned to increase market share on the back of our growing footprint, excellent service and talented people backed by cutting edge technology.'

Gross loans and advances went up by 41 per cent to N187.1bn as against N133.1bn in December 2009, while the operating income of N48.3bn was an increase of 10 per cent compared to N43.8bn in 2009.

For the shareholders, 2010 was an excellent year as each will earn a dividend of 39 kobo per share, an increase of 30 percent over the 30 kobo paid in 2009.

Stanbic IBTC Bank PLC is a universal bank and offers its clients a wide range of wealth, corporate, investment, business and personal banking products and solutions.  With over 152 branches across the country presently and over 2,400 dedicated staff, the bank has grown quickly since it was formed in the 2007 merger of  of South Africa's Nigerian operations with those of IBTC Chartered Bank PLC.

The merger, by way of the first ever tender offer in Nigeria and $525 million in foreign direct investment, was the largest in Nigerian financial history. The Standard Bank Group, which has a controlling stake of 50.7% in Stanbic IBTC, has been in business for over 148 years and is Africa's largest banking group ranked by assets and earnings.

Stanbic IBTC has consolidated its position in Nigeria as a diversified business with a strong capital and liquidity positions and proven track record. Focused on three key business segments - Corporate & Investment Banking, Personal & Business Banking and Wealth Management, the bank has leveraged its excellent Nigerian pedigree while exploiting the skills, economies of scale and synergies that come from being part of an international group.