Wednesday, June 12, 2024
BusinessBerhan management apologizes for record-low dividends

Berhan management apologizes for record-low dividends

Berhan International Bank’s earnings per share for the fiscal year ended July 2023 has dropped to an all time low at a little over six percent for each share valued at 1,000 birr.

Shareholders learned of the drop during the bank’s annual report presentation on Thursday, November 30, 2023.

Although Berhan’s executives had reported a 15.6 percent EPS (156.2 birr per share), regulators at the central bank have downgraded it to 6.03 percent owing to NPLs and other deductions.

Berhan’s profit after tax stood at 505.6 million birr, exhibiting a slight 3.7 percent jump from the previous year’s performance.

Gumachew Kussie, Berhan’s board chairperson, told shareholders the earnings had dwindled due to “unprecedented” factors.

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“The earnings per share have dropped beyond our expectation. We apologize in general,” said Gumachew, during the annual report presentation that was closed off to the media.

Shareholders criticized the bank for its poor performance for three consecutive years.

“This is not something we can overlook because of apologies,” said one shareholder, during the session. “We could have earned better simply by depositing our money in bank accounts.”

The 6.03 birr per share is certainly lower than the seven annual percent interest on savings accounts at any commercial bank.

Berhan’s shareholders have reason for disapproval, as the bank’s earnings per share compare poorly to that of other banks.

Awash Bank claims top spot with a 57.7 percent earnings per share, meaning investors see a return of 577 birr for each share. Other banks will also be unveiling their performance reports in the coming weeks.

Berhan’s executives maintain that although the bank’s earnings per share dropped due to non-performing loans, other indicators are more positive.

“Our NPL dropped to 5.4 percent last year, down from 8.5 percent in the previous year,” Gumachew told shareholders. “The NPL will drop further and will help us improve the earning per share for the current fiscal year.”

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