The Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE) listed bank justified the move in Lilongwe on Tuesday during its shareholders meeting which, among others, was aimed at declaring a final dividend of K9. 38 per share, representing K2 billion (about $11.9m) as recommended by the directors.
Such a dividend is an addition to an interim dividend of K4.21 per ordinary share, representing K900 million (about $5.4m) which the bank already paid out in September last year.
“It is justified because results during the year have been good as we scored on cost control and efficiency,” said the bankâ€™s managing director Charles Mudiwa in an interview after the meeting.
In 2011, the bank achieved a profit after-tax of K3.5 billion (about $21m) which was 46 percent higher than the prior year and this was despite the Malawi economy facing numerous challenges.
The year saw continued power outages and foreign currency scarcity which led to most businesses scaling down operations and left banks and other corporate entities tightening their balance sheets.
Added Mudiwa: “Our cost base was reduced by 12 percent from the prior year mainly because of our cost control measures implemented during the year.”
Mudiwa also explained that the bankâ€™s earnings per share also grew from K11.38 in 2010 to K16.65 in 2011, which also represents a 46 percent jump.
In a separate interview, the bankâ€™s chairperson Alex Chitsime said going forward, the bankâ€™s strategy will be continued focus on ensuring prudent capital management, superior customer service and competitive pricing while containing costs.
But he stressed that the specific focus for business in the financial year 2012 will be retaining its customer base.
During the meeting, the bankâ€™s shareholders also approved the chairpersonâ€™s fees and non-executive directorâ€™s fees from K1.3m to K1.8 m per annum and from K1.1m to K1.3m per annum, respectively.