Equity Group to pay Sh15.1bn in dividend for second year running

Shareholders approve creation of Equity Group Employee Share Ownership Programme.

In Summary

•The approval includes the dividend payout which is a payout ratio of 36 per cent from the previous year of 33.6 per cent.

•This is in line with the Equity Group Holdings Plc dividend Policy.

Equity Group MD James Mwangi
Equity Group MD James Mwangi

Equity Group shareholders have approved a record Sh15.1 billion dividend payout for the second year in a row.

The lender 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 the dividend payout which is a payout ratio of 36 per cent from the previous year of 33.6 per cent.

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.

“The Sh 4per share dividend amounts to a 36 per cent payout of the Sh43.7 billion profit after tax or Sh11.1 earnings per share and dividend yield of 11.9 per cent on the 2023 year-end closing share price of Sh33.65 or 800 per cent on par value,” Group managing director and CEO, James Mwangi, explained.

In the 19th Annual General Meeting, the shareholders approved the creation of Equity Group Employee Share Ownership Programme (EGH ESOP) and allocated five per cent of the share capital to it.

In the 20th AGM, 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, Equity Group chairman Isaac Macharia noted.

"The staff are the most valuable assets we have, and they are the ones that deliver the promise to our customer and the ESOP will attract and retain the right talent," he said.

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 ofCongo (DRC).

Equity Group will now operate under four groups, the Banking Group, Insurance Group, Technology Group and the Foundation Group.

To further entrench its footprint in the insurance sectors, Equity shareholders gave the greenlight 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 per cent market share.

This creates opportunity for the Rwanda economy as it can now support large transaction in the market.

Macharia told shareholders that driven by purpose, the Group has continued to support its customers to navigate the current harsh economic times characterised by volatility and uncertainty.

“From inception, we have sought to proactively support our customers throughrelevant, affordable and easily accessible services and products. We understand that behind everyaccount or transaction is a unique individual or organisation with specific requirements and goals,”he said.

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,"he said.

This, Mwangi said, reflects the strength of its leadership, the resilience of the employees, the anchored nature of its twin-engine business model, and the relevance of the Africa Recovery and Resilience Plan (ARRP).

“We have made 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," he noted.

In addition, the number of borrowing businesses increased to 0.3 million while borrowing customers stood at 0.84 million.

"Overall, we have made good stride 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,” he added.

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 prioritise and reward sustainable practices.

This is particularly crucial for Africa, Mwangi said, a continent endowed with a vast wealth of natural resources.

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