Wema Bank shareholders approve billion capital raise

Story Highlights 

  • Wema Bank shareholders approved raising N200 billion in capital and a 50 kobo per share dividend for 2023 to meet recapitalization directives.
  • The bank saw a 72.2% increase in gross earnings and a 195.6% rise in profit before tax, successfully completing N40 billion rights issue and securing $50 million from ECOWAS Bank.
  • CEO Moruf Oseni confirmed Wema Bank’s commitment to maintaining its national banking license and emphasized the critical need for raising capital.

Shareholders of Wema Bank Plc, one of the nation’s oldest commercial banks, have approved the bank’s quest to raise N200 billion in capital at the group’s annual general meeting (AGM) held electronically today. 

Also, the shareholders endorsed the management’s 50 kobo per share dividend payouts for the year ended December 31, 2023, recommended by the board of directors. 

The bank intends to raise N200 billion or more through various means such as public offers, rights issues, and private placements to meet the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recapitalization directives for a nationally licensed bank and achieve its business needs. 

Shareholders also, among other things, approved that the company increase its issued paid-up share capital from N6.429 billion to N25 billion by creating an additional 37.14 billion ordinary shares, each valued at 50 kobo, which will rank pari-passu with the existing ordinary shares of the company. 

Addressing shareholders at the meeting, the Chairman Board of Directors, Mrs. Oluwayemisi Olorunshola, said the bank closed out its digital dominance in a three-year strategy in 2023.  

Olorunshola noted that this has now been replaced by the top tier in a year plan focused on driving the bank’s growth into one of the largest banks in the industry over the next three years.  

“We will continue to work towards becoming a leading bank and also continue with our ongoing efforts to strengthen our corporate and commercial play.  

In addition, we will continue our aggressive strategy to improve our lending business alongside trade and other revenue lines, as well as work to drive growth through digital capabilities in the long term.” she said. 

Olorunshola noted that the bank raised N21 billion in additional tier 1, Quasi-Equity capital during the year and also completed an N40 billion Rights issue at the end of the year which shows investors’ confidence in the enterprise.  

She added that the bank closed a partnership with ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID) to secure $50m in funding to drive business in the Agric and SME segments. 

Recapitalization minimum target of N200 billion 

The Managing Director/CEO of Wema Bank Plc, Moruf Oseni disclosed the Bank’s progress towards realising the recapitalisation minimum target of N200 billion, set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).  

Oseni noted that as a Bank, it feels privileged and lucky to have enjoyed the support of its shareholders and Stakeholders, especially in the past year.  

“The Bank’s performance has been stellar throughout the year and the figures testify to that none of it could have been possible without the support of the Board, and my colleagues in Executive Management.   

Our customers are extremely loyal and committed to helping us improve, but I think the most important ingredient of all is the followership of the 5000+ employees that I lead as the MD/CEO of Wema Bank. 

 We have given them a purpose that has resonated with them, and they are working day and night to ensure that your Bank gets to the top. That is the reason you see the results you have seen.  

“To the owners of the Bank, our Shareholders, we are grateful. You have been relentless in your support of this administration and have constantly challenged us to achieve greater and supported us. As always, we will continue to rise to the occasion,” he said.  

Approval of the bank’s N40 billion Rights Issue

Oseni noted that the Apex Bank has done its due diligence and approved the bank’s N40 billion Rights Issue, which is currently undergoing SEC approval to be listed on the Nigerian Exchange.  

“Our Capital Base now stands not at the current N15 billion but with the Rights Issue, at N55 billion—significant headway towards N200 billion. 

Following the shareholder’s and Board’s approval, we are set to raise the N200 billion within the 24-month timeline through public placements and a public offer, which we are confident that we will achieve before the timeline expires.  

We have shared our plans with the CBN, and we will work assiduously to balance our capital base in the near future.  

At a minimum, Wema Bank will remain a National Bank, we will keep working tenaciously to become a Systematically Important Bank, reattain Tier-1 status, and continue providing optimum value for every shareholder and stakeholder of Wema Bank”, Oseni concluded. 

Regional banking license 

Oseni confirmed that Wema Bank has no intention of reverting to a regional banking license. He emphasized that raising capital is a critical objective for the bank and sought the continued support of the shareholders. 

Oseni stated, “Raising capital is a significant challenge ahead of us, but please rest assured that we will do everything necessary to secure the required funds. By 2026, Wema Bank will remain a national bank. We have no plans to return to regional banking.” 

What shareholders said 

Shareholders commended the company’s 2023 performance. The President of New Dimension Shareholders Association Mr. Partrick Ajudua said that the performance was excellent, with growth in its key performance indices. 

On the Capital raising, Ajudua anticipated a successful exercise for the company due to its good track record despite the difficult operating environment. 

Commending the exceptional results, Mr. Badmus Tunde, another shareholder of the Bank added, “I welcome the new Chairman on board and our MD/CEO as well, it is evident that they are very capable of steering the ship. I want to congratulate the Bank for coming this far, 79 years is not child’s play and I pray God grants us long life. Since 1945, Wema Bank has seen the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, and through thick and thin, it has gotten to where it is today. The results are overwhelming, and profitability has been maintained. Kudos to the Board and Management”. 

Financial performance 

  • The Bank recorded improved performance, as Gross Earnings grew by 72.2% from N131.08 billion in FY 2022 to N225.75billion in FY 2023, similarly, Profit before Tax (PBT) increased by 195.6% to N43.59billion from N14.75billion in FY 2022, while Profit After Tax (PAT) increased by 200.2% to N35.93billion from N11.21billion reported in FY 2022.  
  • The Bank grew its Total Deposits by 59.6% as of FY 2023 to N1,860.57 billion from N 1,165.93 billion reported in FY 2022. 
  • Total Assets as of FY 2023 stood at N2,240.06 billion, representing a 56.4% increase over the N1,433.70 billion recorded in the corresponding year of 2022 and placing the bank squarely above the N1 trillion mark. 
  • Additionally, loans to customers rose by 53.6% to close FY 2023 at N801.10 billion from the 521.43 billion recorded in 2022. 

 


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