Market News

NCBA board to meet over dividend terms

alushula

Summary

  • The board of NCBA Group will meet before March to decide the new dividends to pay shareholders, including the Kenyatta and Philip Ndegwa families who command the highest stakes.
  • NCBA is the product of the merger between the listed NIC Group and CBA Group. The two lenders had different dividend policies.
  • CBA, where the Kenyatta’s were significant shareholders, used to pay higher dividends relative to profits compared to NIC.

The board of NCBA Group #ticker:NIC will meet before March to decide the new dividends to pay shareholders, including the Kenyatta and Philip Ndegwa families who command the highest stakes.

NCBA is the product of the merger between the listed NIC Group and CBA Group. The two lenders had different dividend policies.

CBA, where the Kenyatta’s were significant shareholders, used to pay higher dividends relative to profits compared to NIC.

Now, the board of the merged banks is set to decide on a fresh dividend policy.

NCBA group Managing Director John Gachora told the Business Daily that the board will make the decision before March when the bank will issue its first consolidated results for the 2019 financial year.

“The board has not yet decided on a policy yet. We are having discussions as to what that should look like. It is true NIC policy was conservative,” said Mr Gachora.

Standard Investment Bank (SIB) analysts said they expect NCBA to increase its dividend payout hinged on higher efficiencies and reduced cost of funding.

SIB said the merger transaction had resulted in between 10 and 15 percent growth in earnings to NIC Group shareholders who swapped their stock during the deal.

“We see a slight increase in dividend payout — blended payout improves from 20 percent to about 25 percent in our estimate, with CBA being the catalyst for a higher payout,” said SIB.

However, Mr Gachora said the new payout policy will have to leave room for expansion plans within Kenya and beyond without having to raise capital in the short-term.

“Our new dividend policy will be one that allows us to make new investments to build capital. That is a decision that has to be made before we release end year results in March,” said Mr Gachora.

The Kenyattas have a 13.2 percent stake in NCBA while the family of the late Phillip Ndegwa owns 11.75 percent.

NIC paid a dividend of Sh1.25 per share totalling Sh880 million from the 2018 results when the lender’s profits grew to Sh4.22 billion from Sh4.14 billion in 2017. This means it paid 20.8 percent of its earnings to shareholders as dividends.

CBA paid a dividend of Sh1.42 from 2017 despite the lender’s profits dropping to Sh5.54 billion from Sh6.7 billion in 2016. This means it paid 25.6 percent of its earnings to shareholders as dividends.