Bank of Maldives announces record dividend payout

The Bank of Maldives Plc Ltd (BML) has announced a record dividend payout to shareholders on the back of a solid pre-tax profit of MVR 932 million in 2015, up 29 per cent from the previous year.

“When one-off items such as loan recoveries are removed to give a more appropriate year-on-year comparison, underlying profit increased by a very strong 136 per cent,” the national bank explained in a press statement yesterday.

Buoyed by the positive results, BML’s board of directors recommended a dividend payout of MVR 91 million (MVR 17 per share) for shareholders, which represents the third consecutive year in which a record dividend has been proposed.

“I am pleased to say that 2015 was a strong year for Bank of Maldives. Strong in terms of financial performance but, equally importantly, strong in terms of investment and giving back to the people and communities we serve. We have a clear, stretching plan and we are delivering on our commitments. The fact that last year’s Profit Before Tax was up 29 per cent on 2014 was positive in itself,” said BML CEO and Managing Director Andrew Healy.

“However, this does not tell the whole story as 2015 was the first time in many years that our financial performance was not boosted by major recoveries against legacy corporate loans. Such one-off gains were not needed as we demonstrated we now have the core business strength to grow in a normalised environment.”

Healy expressed gratitude to the bank’s staff and board directors as well as the bank’s 265,000 customers.

“We have good momentum in our business and we are committed to continuing to grow in a strong and prudent manner,” he said.

BML’s loan book meanwhile grew by 22 per cent to reach MVR 7.2 billion. The bank reported that its loan book quality “maintained its positive trend with solid reductions in non-performing assets across the portfolio and no major new loan defaults arising.”

Non-performing loans were reduced by 19 per cent. In a bid to make the cost of borrowing more affordable, BML has recently reduced interest rates across its suite of home financing and consumer loans.

“Customer Deposits increased by 16 per cent to MVR 14.1 billion. The Bank’s liquidity and capital ratios finished the year well in excess of regulatory requirements. As the first half of a MVR 300 million investment program, the Bank invested MVR 150 million in extending services to communities and businesses right across the country,” the statement continued.

Meanwhile, with the recent opening of a branch on the island of Felidhoo in Vaavu atoll, BML now has a branch in every atoll of the Maldives. The bank also completed its rollout of cash services to all inhabited islands through the establishment of partnership arrangements with local retailers.

In 2016, BML is planning to continue its investment programme with seven new branches and 10 self-service banking centres in the atolls.

“With a nationwide network of 29 branches, 76 ATMs, 3,200 Point of Sale merchants, 177 cash agents, 14 Self Service Banking Centres and 5 Dhoni Banking Units, BML’s investment and presence far exceeds that of all other banks in the country combined,”  the bank said.

Chairperson of Bank of Maldives, Fareeha Shareef, said: “It is of course greatly encouraging to see a strong financial trajectory, an increasingly robust loan book and improving customer service.”

“But undoubtedly the most satisfying aspect of the Bank’s progress is the huge investment we are making in extending our reach and our services across the country into the heart of the communities we serve. I would like to thank our customers for their continued support and our shareholders for their confidence and loyalty. I am naturally delighted that the Board is proposing a record dividend and I believe we can all look forward to the future with tremendous enthusiasm and confidence.”

Click here to read BML’s annual report.