By Chioma Obinagwam
Nigeria’s top tier lender, Zenith Bank Plc said its pre-tax profit for the period ended December 31, 2015 rose 4.85 per cent to N125.62 billion from N119.79 billion recorded in the corresponding year.
Similarly, profit after tax (PAT) increased 6.24 percent to N105.66 percent to N99.45 billion posted the same period of 2014.
Gross earnings of Zenith Bank grew from N403.34 billion in 2014 audited year end to N432.53 billion in the review period of 2015; showing a growth of 7.24 percent, the lender said in a filing with the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
The board of directors of the Bank proposed a final dividend of N1.55 kobo per share which in addition to the N0.25 kobo per share paid as interim dividend amounts to N1.80 per share from the retained earnings account as at December 31, 2015. It paid N1.75 kobo per share in its 2014 year end.
“This is subject to approval by shareholders at the next Annual General Meeting,” Zenith Bank added.
The lender says if the proposed dividend is approved by the shareholders, the Bank will be liable to pay additional corporate tax estimated at N13.39 billion, which represents the difference between the tax liability calculated at 30 percent of the dividend approved and the tax charge reported in the statement of profit or loss and other comprehensive income for period ended 31 December 2015.
It said payment of dividends is subject to withholding tax at a rate of 10 percent in the hand of recipients. Zenith says closure date is March 29, 2016; while AGM and payment date of the N1.80 per share dividend is April 6, 2016.
Recently in a report from Reuters, the group disclosed it expects a pre-tax profit of N126 billion in year 2016, which represents a marginal 0.3 per cent increase from N125.6 billion recorded in the preceding year.
Again, the Bank said it expects loan growth of 5-10 per cent this year, down from 15.6 percent in 2015.