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StanChart to miss dividend payment date due to inability to hold an AGM

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 26- Standard Chartered Bank says it will not meet its dividend payment date as it will not be able to hold an Annual General Meeting with its shareholders, where such matters are approved.

The cancellation of the AGM is in obedience to the government’s social distancing directive owing to the coronavirus.

The Bank, Kenya’s sixth largest by assets, had proposed dividend of Sh15 for every ordinary share.

“We are monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to pose a challenge even as we work towards determining the most suitable time and manner for holding the 34th AGM which remains postponed,” the board’s company secretary Nancy Oginde said in a statement.

“Consequently, the company will not be in a position to pay the dividend on 28 May 2020 as proposed and announced through the NSE as it would not have been approved by shareholders as an AGM as required.”

The announcement comes on the same day that Equity Group, Kenya’s second largest bank withdrew its recommendation of a Ksh. 9.5 billion dividend payout to its shareholders.

The postponement of dividends could possibly pose a picture of how banks are struggling to keep up their earnings due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

NCBA was the first bank in East Africa to pull its final dividend for last year of 1.50 shillings per share due to the coronavirus crisis and instead offered investors a bonus share issue of one for every 10 held.

“The withdrawal of the dividend payout speaks to the Board’s assessment of risk, post balance sheet date of December 31, 2019 and of the Group’s approach to prudent risk mitigation and management,” Equity said in a statement.

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However, other banks such as KCB and CO-OP have not withdrawn their proposed dividend payouts of Sh2.50 and Sh1 per share.

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