Home Banking Equity Group Approves Dividends, Formation of Bank Group

Equity Group Approves Dividends, Formation of Bank Group

In the 19th Annual General Meeting the shareholders approved the creation of the Equity Group Employee Share Ownership Programme (EGH ESOP) and allocated 5% of the share capital

by Kwabe Ben

Equity Group Holdings Plc on Wednesday held its 20th Annual General Meeting as the shareholders voted in favor of all proposals by the Board of Directors with a large majority through electronic means.

The approval includes a dividend payout of Kes 15.1 billion for a second year running which is a payout ratio of 36% from the previous year of 33.6%. This is in line with the Equity Group Holdings Plc Dividend Policy. The payout depicts a sustained return to shareholders amid an operating environment that’s grappling with volatility marked by inflation, widespread currency depreciation, and interest rate hikes.

Dr James Mwangi, Group Managing Director, and CEO, said that the Kshs. 4 per share dividend amounts to a 36% payout of the Kshs.43.7 billion Profit After Tax or Kshs 11.1 earnings per share and a dividend yield of 11.9% on the 2023 year-end closing share price of Kshs.33.65 or 800% on par value.

In the 19th Annual General Meeting the shareholders approved the creation of the Equity Group Employee Share Ownership Programme (EGH ESOP) and allocated 5% of the share capital to it. In the 20th Annual General Meeting, shareholders approved the EGH ESOP Trust Deed and Scheme Rules.

This will position Equity Group as an employer of choice in the various markets and sectors where it operates. The staff is the most valuable assets we have, and they are the ones that deliver the promise to our customers, and the ESOP will attract and retain the right talent,’ commented Prof. Isaac Macharia, Equity Group Chairman.

The approvals include the creation of a banking holding company that will consolidate the activities of all the banking subsidiaries within the Group. Currently, Equity Group operates banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Equity Group will now operate under four groups, the Banking Group, the Insurance Group, the Technology Group, and the Foundation Group.

To further entrench its footprint in the insurance sectors, Equity shareholders gave the green light for the incorporation of a health insurance subsidiary to undertake health insurance underwriting in Kenya. The health insurance company will be a subsidiary of Equity Group Insurance Holdings Limited which already undertakes a life insurance and general insurance business in Kenya.

The Shareholders ratified the Cogebanque acquisition which led to Equity Bank Rwanda being a respectable position two in the market with an 18% market share. This creates an opportunity for the Rwanda economy as it can now support large transactions in the market.

Prof. Isaac Macharia told shareholders that driven by purpose, the Group has continued to support its customers to navigate the current harsh economic times characterized by volatility and uncertainty. “From inception, we have sought to proactively support our customers through relevant, affordable, and easily accessible services and products. We understand that behind every account or transaction is a unique individual or organization with specific requirements and goals.”, he said.

Dr. Mwangi said the Group performed well, reflecting a positive outlook, continued trajectory of growth, and shared value creation.

“We are now a systemic bank in East Africa, a region that has emerged among the fastest-growing regions in the world. Our outlook remains positive, despite the challenging macroeconomic environment, Equity has adapted with agility and responsiveness to mitigate the challenging market conditions across the region. This reflects the strength of its leadership, the resilience of the employees, the anchored nature of our twin-engine business model, and the relevance of the Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan (ARRP),” he said.

Pointing out that there has been good progress through the year in attaining the key objectives under the Plan as we increased our client numbers to 19.6 million customers up from 17.7 million. In addition, the number of borrowing businesses increased to 0.3 million while borrowing customers stood at 0.84 million.

Revealing that overall they have made good strides in pursuing the Plan. As the ARRP is strongly hinged on unlocking the primary sector in Africa, a major concern for the Group in the year revolved around nature and climate change.

Looking to the future, Equity continues to view sustainability as offering a viable path for global advancement, presenting an opportunity to establish economic, market, and social models that prioritize and reward sustainable practices. This is particularly crucial for Africa, a continent endowed with a vast wealth of natural resources.

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