Nigeria’s biggest financial services group by market value, Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO), owners of GT Bank, said it earned a post-tax profit of N79.4 billion in the first half of the year, 15.8 per cent weaker than what it posted in the same period of last year.

Profit took a bashing from a slide in net interest income, which fell 16.1 per cent to N107.1 billion from a year earlier in the heat of the pandemic.

The lender made an allowance of N81.8 billion for loans to cater for a possible jump in defaults on loans particularly those resulting from the coronavirus crisis. But that was a slight rise when set against the figure for full-year 2020 standing at N81.1 billion.

Analysts have predicted a rise in banks’ bad debt in 2021.

“Nigerian banks’ loan quality will weaken in 2021 as coronavirus support measures implemented by the government and central bank last year, including the loan repayment holiday, are unwound,” Peter Mushangwe, analyst at credit rating agency Moody’s said in a March commentary on the Nigerian banking system.

According to GTCO’s January-to-June financials obtained by PREMIUM TIMES on Friday, gross earnings tapered by 7.7 per cent to N207.9 billion.

This June, the group completed a metamorphosis transforming it to a holdco, going the way earlier headed by rivals like FBN Holdings, FCMB Group and Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a move it expects will help it branch out into asset management and payment.

Segun Agbaje, Group Managing Director GTCO

The holdco structure permits GTCO to own controlling stakes in the companies under the group and oversee management resolutions without direct involvement in their everyday business.

Yet, the year’s second half will be testing if the new structure and reconstituting the board are steps in the right direction, but that could be complicated by the fact that the group is yet to report growth across key performance parameters in the two quarters so far completed this year.

GTCO announced in a separate statement on Thursday an interim dividend per share of N0.30 per cent for the period. Shareholders holding the group’s shares by September 27 will be eligible for the payout on October 12.

GTCO’s shares were trading at N27.1 per cent per unit in Lagos at 11:30 WAT on Friday, yet to see any movement.

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