Stanchart shareholders unhappy with dividend

Shareholders of Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited have expressed misgivings at the dividends declared by their bank at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) held in Accra. According to them, the bank paid a dividend of GhC0.51 per share in 2011 but only declared GH�0.47 per share for 2012 in spite of the achievements of the bank during the year under review. The shareholders who included Mr Joseph Abeka Biney, Mr J.K. Annan, Mr Kwaku Amoah Awuah and Mr L. Amponsah among others who preceded their grievance with words of commendation for the board and management of the bank for what they described as a �sterling performance� during the year under review, they insisted that they deserved as better dividend. But in a sharp response to their concern, the Board Chairman of the bank, Mr Ishmael Yamson, explained that the reason for the reduction in the dividend paid was as a result of a number of reasons which were all in the interest of the bank and its shareholders. Mr Yamson said the reduction in the dividend for this year was in anticipation of future growth prospects for the and to strengthen the capital base of the bank. He also indicated that the value to the shareholders upon the issue of the bonus shares was a significant rise in the share price of the bank as quoted on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE). The board chairman further noted that �it was prudent to save some money in good times today than to wait for the future when things were not the best� adding that �what we have done is in the best interest of shareholders because we can now have the funds to undertake big ticket transactions that will fetch good returns to improve shareholders value�, he said. The Managing Director of the bank Mr Kweku Bedu-Addo and the Executive Director, Finance, Mr Sanjay Rughanisaid said with the issue of the additional shares of 19.2 million bonus shares, total outstanding shares of the bank had increased to 115.5 million hense the reduction in the dividend payout. According to the two since the bonus issue, the shares of the shareholders had increased by 70 per cent. The major highlights of the bank�s performance in the year under review were; operational income went up from GH�217 million in 2011 to GH�282 million; normalised earnings per share went down from GH�3.97 to GH�1.16 while total assets increased to GH�2,391 million during the year under review from GH�1,971 million in 2011. Profit before tax also shot up to GH�170 million in 2012 from GH�114 million the previous year.