Access Holdings Records N244bn Forex Gains in H1 –Report

The total net foreign exchange gains of Access Holdings Plc rose by 362 per cent to N244bn in the first half of 2023 from N52.84bn recorded in the same period of 2022.

This was disclosed in the group’s consolidated and separate interim financial statements for the period ended 30 June 2023 filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited.

The financial institution said that the Nigerian economy in the first half of this year witnessed a slowdown in economic activity, influenced by various factors, including the unification of the exchange rate, and removal of subsidies amongst others.

“These actions have increased production costs, exacerbated by high energy prices and elevated borrowing costs. Nonetheless, there is cautious optimism as the new government initiates long-awaited reforms, such as the repeal of the Electric Power Sector Reform Act, granting more control over power production and distribution.

“The removal of petrol subsidies and changes in the foreign exchange market have had ripple effects on domestic prices. Petrol costs have surged, and the exchange rate has experienced fluctuations, impacting businesses and households alike,” the lender stated in notes accompanying the financial statement.

Recall that the Central Bank of Nigeria in a circular in early September told lenders not to use FX revaluation gains to pay dividends or for other operational expenses.

The CBN said it had assessed the consequences of the recent FX rate regime change on the banking system and identified its potential to substantially impact the Naira values of banks’ foreign currency assets and liabilities.

The FX reforms negatively affected some businesses in the first quarter of 2023, but Nigerian banks were largely profitable.

The apex bank directed financial institutions to use the revaluation gains to reinforce their capital reserves against volatility and economic shocks.

During the period under review, Access Holdings’ gross earnings rose by 58.89 per cent to N940.31bn from N591.80bn in the same period in 2022. Its total comprehensive income for the period surged by 1,041 per cent to N556.78bn from N48.79bn in 2022.

The Board of Directors proposed an Interim Dividend of 30 Kobo per ordinary share of 50 Kobo (H1 2022:20Kobo) each on the 35,545,225,622 issued ordinary shares of 50k each payable to shareholders.

On its outlook for the second half of 2023, Access Holdings said: “Our commitment remains unwavering. We are dedicated to managing emerging and evolving risks in this challenging environment. Our confidence for the last half of 2023 rests upon the strong foundation we have diligently built over the years. We have made significant investments in digital and technology capabilities to seize opportunities and remain competitive amidst increased competition and disruptions.”