Tuesday, May 26, 2020 / 2:53 PM / CSCS / Header Image Credit: Twitter; @CSCSNigeria
Central Securities Clearing System (CSCS) Plc, today, held its 26th Annual General Meeting (AGM), where shareholders approved N0.86 dividend per share payout to shareholders. The AGM was held by proxy at the Nigerian Stock Exchange Event Centre, Lagos whilst observing relevant social distancing protocols and hygiene, aimed at curtailing the spread of COVID-19.
Following the approval of shareholders on the N0.86 dividend per share proposed by the Board, CSCS would be paying a total of N4.3billion to its shareholders, some 22.8% year-on-year growth in return to shareholders, when compared to N3.5 billion dividend (i.e N0.70 dividend per share) paid in the previous year.
Speaking on the performance of the company, the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Mr. Oscar N. Onyema noted the resilience of CSCS' performance amidst market volatility and waning transaction volumes in 2019: "This set of results and impressive returns to shareholders are commendable, particularly when put in the perspective of the relatively weak liquidity in the market in 2019. This feat reflects the tenacity of the management in diversifying the business and commitment to cost efficiency. Whilst transaction fees waned, it is satisfying that CSCS sustained both top and bottom-line growths, with revenue and profit before tax of N9.1billion and N6.3 billion respectively", the Chairman noted.
Also commenting on the results, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Haruna Jalo-Waziri said; "my colleagues and I remain committed to our earnings growth and cost efficiency philosophies, as we are driven by the ultimate objective of creating superior value for shareholders and enhancing market efficiencies. I am pleased with the 165% growth in non-core earnings, reflecting our tenacity towards diversifying the business. More importantly, the overall performance reflects the pay-off of our painstaking investment in people and new technologies, as we strengthen our capacity to serve our participants better and meet the anticipatory need of the market."
"Notwithstanding the inflationary environment, we closed 2019FY with a 31.5% cost-to-income ratio, demonstrating continuous improvement in cost efficiency. As we deliver on our strategic initiatives aimed at enhancing the post-trade segment of the Nigerian capital market, we are upbeat on the earnings outlook of the Company, with expectations of delivering superior returns to shareholders over the long term", Jalo-Waziri added.
While speaking beyond the financials, the Chief Executive Officer highlighted that CSCS will continue to strengthen its partnership with all market stakeholders towards deepening the market for mutual growth. "In 2019, we seamlessly delivered on our core responsibilities of safe depository, clearing and settlement of capital market transactions, but these do not excite us, as we are not in business for these table stakes, which we consider to be routine. We have greater and audacious ambitions of partnering with our stakeholders in realizing the huge potentials of the Nigerian capital market through innovations. I am pleased that we are laying solid foundations for creating value and impactful innovations for the Nigerian market, even as we reckon the odds", the CEO noted.
Whilst speaking on the Coronavirus pandemic, Jalo-Waziri noted that the company activated its Business Continuity Plan requiring staff to work from home well ahead of the Federal Government's lockdown in Lagos, Ogun and Abuja.
Jalo-Waziri concluded, "I am happy to report that we continue to seamlessly serve the market remotely, extracting the benefits of our proactive investments in new technologies and people. Whilst operating remotely over the past eight weeks, we continue to record 99.99% uptime across all our channels, with a resounding commitment to efficiently support all primary and secondary market transactions through this challenging time, and always."
CSCS has a diversified shareholder base, including the Nigerian Stock Exchange, some of the largest Nigerian banks, private equity firms, other institutional investors and thousands of retail investors. The shares are traded over-the-counter through the NASD-OTC, the premier market for trading unquoted securities of public limited companies. As of Friday, 22 May 2020, the bid/ask quotes on the shares of CSCS indicate a price of N12.69 per share, having rallied over 70% in the past two years.