“The underlying strength of our business combined with a focus on supporting our customers during these difficult times has resulted in strong returns for our shareholders, with an increased dividend,” said BSP Group CEO Robin Fleming when announcing the bank’s Half Year Performance last week.
The BSP Financial Group Limited (BSP) has delivered a strong result for shareholders, with a 17.6 per cent increase in Net Profit after Tax (NPAT), to K449 million in 1H-2021 despite COVID-19 impacts and its continued support of affected customers, particularly in Fiji. Given this result, earnings per share increased from 82 toea in 1H-2020 to 96 toea in 1H-2021.
On the back of this strong performance, the BSP Board determined an interim dividend of 39 toea a share, representing a payout ratio of 40.5 per cent of profit. The interim dividend equates to a distribution of K182 million of the Group’s 1H-2021 profit, with large PNG shareholders such as KCH, Nambawan Super, and Nasfund receiving interim dividend payments of circa K33.0 million, K21.5 million and K17.7 million respectively.
BSP Chairman, Sir Kostas Constantinou, OBE, was extremely pleased with this dividend payout, which rebounded strongly (56%) from 25 toea in 2020 and is in-line with pre-2020 levels. Further, the 2021 interim dividend increase gave due regard to COVID-19 impacts on BSP’s financial position, stress tests and capital soundness.
According to Mr Fleming, the Group delivered PNGX shareholders a dividend yield of 11.7%, based on K12.30 share price and market capitalisation of K5.7 billion.
He added since joining the ASX on 25 May, 2021, investor trades have continued to support the BFL share price at around A$5.45 (~ K14.40) to A$5.60 (~ K14.80) representing a market cap circa A$2.6b (~ K6.8 billion), which is well above the PNGX market capitalisation.
The Group’s continued progress against its strategy, combined with the fact that its capital adequacy ratio has increased to 23.0 per cent above comparative industry benchmarks and well above regulatory requirements (12%) means BSP is well placed to support customers, continue its investment in the modernization of its IT systems and infrastructure (including the rollout of our Oracle FLEXCUBE system across all countries), and continue to grow the business.
In closing, Mr Fleming said that the Group’s continued balance sheet strength and very strong capital position has allowed BSP to support retail and business customers, while delivering strong and sustainable returns to shareholders. We will continue to invest in the business to maintain and extend our leadership position particularly our digital products and services. Specific examples include the expansion of “BSP Pay” and “BSP Mobile Merchant” to deliver safe, secure and convenient 24/7 cashless payments to our customers.