The managing director and chief executive officer of Heritage Bank Limited, Ifie Sekibo, has hinted that the bank would be listed on the floor of the Nigerian Stock Exchange but added that this may not happen in the current year.
Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the Vanguard Economic Summit recently, Sekibo said one of the expectations of the investors who are in talks with the bank is listing on the exchange.As he said “it would definitely be listed on the stock exchange especially because we are expecting new investors and one of their core expectations is that we would list within the nearest future, so we would list.”
He noted that the banking industry would likely see more mergers and acquisitions this year noting that foreign investors are happy with the profitability level and performance of Nigerian financial institutions.Saying: “Investors are coming because they are happy with our returns. We are one of the economies that has returned good on the financial institutions side.
“Investors are always very happy with the kind of returns that we make. So yes they will come and we are expecting more investments and I expect that as those investments take place, mergers and acquisitions may take place this year. Both local and foreign investors.”
However, he predicted there would be a depression of banks’ earnings this year due to the adoption of the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 9. According to him, the IFRS 9 allows banks to measure their assets, both risk assets, and physical assets in a way that it reflects their strengths, and taking ahead of the curve, projections that you think could possibly happen or issues that could affect the possibility of anything going wrong and taking the hit ahead of time.
“It will affect us at the initial points where we are taking the hit, initially when we are beginning. But it is a zero-sum game for me. Down the line over three, four years it times out because if today you take a hit because you believe they are not going to pay, and the economy improves and they pay tomorrow, it goes back into your profit so you get it back.
“So initially yes, we are all going to feel a jolt, there will be a depression in some of our earnings because we are taking more hit but again it speaks to the strength of the bank and that strength of the bank is what the customer needs to be comfortable about. After such confrontations, you have a bank that is still able to carry your liabilities.”
On the focus of the bank going forward, he said “we are going to continue in the space of SMEs because it is the bedrock of development for any country, especially developing countries. On the back of that is the challenging issue that most of our people don’t have financial services products they can latch on too.
“There is the whole financial inclusion strategy being spearheaded by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and we are latching on to it. Agency banking is also a vehicle to which we are trying to help the financial inclusion strategy for the country and we believe that as we increase that space, you would pull more people into the economy thereby increasing development in the country.”
Read More: https://leadership.ng/2019/01/21/heritage-bank-anticipates-fresh-capital-from-investors/