By Ngozi Onyeakusi –United Bank for Africa Plc’s has recorded gross earnings to the tune N494bn at the end of 2018 financial period.

This represents a 7.0 per cent growth from N461.6bn recorded in the corresponding period of 2017.

According to the lenders filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the bank recorded growth across major lines.

It’s total assets also grew significantly by 19.7 per cent to N4.9tn in the year under review.

“These results, according to financial analysts, demonstrated the benefits of the group’s Pan-African footprints with continued growth in market share in key countries of operation across Africa,” the bank stated.

The contributions of ex-Nigeria subsidiaries at 40 per cent, again confirmed the strong footing of the group’s franchise in Africa, UBA said.

Despite the challenging business environment in Nigeria and across key markets in Africa, the bank’s profit before tax rose to N106.8bn, a 2.4 per cent growth, compared to N104.2bn in the 2017 financial year.

The profit after tax rose by 1.4 per cent to N78.6bn, compared to N77.5bn recorded in 2017.

Due to lower foreign exchange trading income, operating expenses grew by 4.1 per cent to N197.3bn, compared to N189.7bn in 2017.

Reflecting the modest appetite of the bank in the year under review as well as the impact of the International Financial Reporting Standards 9 implementation, net loans recorded a prudent 3.9 per cent growth to N1.72tn, while customer deposits increased by 22.5 per cent to N3.3tn, compared to N2.7tn recorded in the corresponding period of 2017, reflecting increased customer confidence and enhanced service channels.

The bank stated that shareholders’ funds decreased marginally by 4.8 per cent to N502.6bn, reflecting the impact of IFRS 9 implementation.

Commenting on the result, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, noted that 2018 was important to the group, as it gained further market share in many countries of operation.

The chief executive officer was satisfied by the strategic achievements made in the year, including the start of wholesale banking operations in London, as it sought to leverage the group’s unique network across Africa.

UBA also opened its 20th African operation.