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29.03.2006 Business & Finance

SG-SSB - 450 cedis dividend declared


Accra, March 29, GNA - Shareholders of the SG-SSB Limited on Wednesday expressed satisfaction with the Bank's performance for the 2005 year and voted unanimously for the Bank to purchase 10 per cent of issued shares to raise share price.

The Bank at its 26th Annual General Meeting declared a dividend of 450 cedis per share with a profit before taxation of 148.108 billion cedis.

The shareholders lauded the Management's achievement on the operating results, which indicated that despite a net decrease in interest rates and in margins, the operating income showed a satisfactory 12.7 per cent increase due to significant development of productive assets and increase in fees and commission. Presenting the overview of its performance, Mr Gerald Lacaze, Board Chairman of the Bank, said the good performance, however, was affected by a 29.3 per cent increase in operating expenses, which originated from staff and technology costs.

Besides, he said, the Bank suffered an exceptional cost of 5.7 billion cedis due to a voluntary retirement programme implemented during the year.

Mr Lacaze said the Bank began 2005 with a share price of 27,000 cedis but by the second half of the year, it declined to 25,000 cedis. He said the issue of a bonus share for each existing share resulted in a share split that led to share price halving to 12,500 cedis. "The bonus share created liquidity on the market and resulted in the share price dropping further to 7,200 cedis as at December 2005," the Board Chairman said adding that currently the Bank's share price stood at 7,000 cedis.

On outlook for the 2006, Mr Lacaze said with the sound positive macro-economic environment the Bank would strive to increase profitability and productivity while maintaining the balance between income and expenses.

Mr Pierre Andre Taulet, Managing Director, said during the year the Bank continued its efforts to improve its competitive advantage through the adoption of measures aimed at attracting new customers and improving its growth in credits and deposits.

He said this saw strong growth in business banking, introduction of innovative products and services, reinforcing of internal controls and pursuance of an active risk management policy. Mr Taulet said the Bank would continue to improve its competitiveness by training its employees in new products and quality service techniques.