The chairman of Sterling Bank, Asue Ighodalo, has said that the transition of the financial institution into a Holding Company will provide more value for shareholders.

Ighodalo said this on Wednesday at the 61st Annual General Meeting of the bank held in Lagos, where shareholders approved the dividends of 15 kobo per ordinary share; a 50 per cent increase from that paid in 2021.

He said, “Our transformation into a holding company structure will allow shareholders and customers to maintain continued exposure to the bank’s existing lines of business and gain exposure to new business lines that will enhance shareholder value.

“As we chart a new future for our organisation, the expanded company structure will give us the renewed ambition to conquer new ground and solve more problems.”

The shareholders urged the board to make the most of the transition into a financial holdings company and establish more subsidiaries that will drive even more growth and increase shareholder value.

One of the shareholders, Rilwan Hamza, commended the board members and staff of the bank for the wonderful financial performance while another shareholder, Boniface Okezie, expressed delight at the level of transparency displayed by the board and commended them for the improved dividend payout.

The bank’s strong performance for the 2022 financial year was derived from growth in its assets base and customers’ deposits by 14.4 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively. This is despite strong economic headwinds experienced by the Nigerian economy in the year under review.

Speaking on the bank’s results, Ighodalo said “Despite the challenges during 2022, our performance reflected our resilience and determination to deliver optimal value for our shareholders. We are pleased that we closed the year on a good note.”

The bank’s profit before tax grew to N 20.8 bn, representing a 29 per cent year-on-year increase from N 16.1 bn recorded in 2021, and a 28.5 per cent growth in profit after tax to record N19.3 bn for 2022.

He said the PAT growth was driven by an N18.6 billion improvement in net operating income amidst heightened inflationary pressure and regulatory policies, adding that gross earnings grew by 16.6 per cent to N175.1 billion compared to N150.2 billion reported in 2021.

On the business outlook for the year, the chairman noted, “We remain very optimistic about our bank’s future and are devoted to effectively transforming our business to deliver optimal performance, and significantly offer superior services to millions of Nigerians.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to lead with best-in-class customer experience, establish a work environment that helps our employees become the best versions of themselves, become even more socially responsible as an institution, and create immense value for our shareholders.”

The lender recently transitioned into a financial holding company with the relisting of its shares on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange.