Herbert Wigwe, Late Nigerian Banker, Guided Access Holdings to $451M Profit in 2023

The death of Herbert Wigwe, a Nigerian banker and African banking magnate, has left a long shadow over Access Holdings Plc and its subsidiaries. While Wigwe’s leadership is sadly missed, his imprint may still be seen in the group’s record-breaking 2023 revenues.

Wigwe led Access Holdings to a 307-percent year-on-year increase in profits in 2023, hitting a high of N619.32 billion ($451.7 million). This far exceeds the N152.2 billion ($111 million) recorded in 2022. The group’s total comprehensive revenue paralleled this increase, rising to N1.031 trillion ($752 million) from N233.3 billion ($170.17 million) the previous year.

This outstanding achievement is due to a variety of variables. Both interest and non-interest income saw large increases. Net foreign exchange profits also played a significant role, rising from N335.54 billion ($244.8 million) in 2022 to a stunning N628.93 billion ($458.8 million) by 2023.

Access Holdings, a dominating power in Africa’s financial services business, has strategically expanded its footprint across 12 African countries, strengthening its position on the continent and expanding into Europe.

The group serves as a holding company for a wide variety of financial institutions, including banking, asset management, payments, pensions, and insurance. This diverse structure exemplifies Herbert Wigwe’s goal for a strong and comprehensive financial ecosystem.

Wigwe, the group managing director and CEO of Access Holdings, died in a helicopter accident on February 9, 2024. He owned a considerable 9.09 percent share in the company, worth around $55 million at the time of his death, cementing his reputation as one of Nigeria’s wealthiest bankers.

Wigwe’s leadership surely had a significant impact on Access Holdings’ 2023 performance. Under his leadership, the group’s total assets increased from N14.99 trillion ($10.93 billion) at the end of 2022 to N26.69 trillion ($19.47 billion) on December 31, 2023. Similarly, equity held by owners increased from N1.208 trillion ($881 million) to N2.11 trillion ($1.54 billion).

Access Holdings’ board proposed a final dividend of N1.80 ($0.00131) per share, up from N1.30 ($0.00095) in 2023.

While Herbert Wigwe is no longer at the helm, his vision and leadership continue to influence Access Holdings’ destiny. The group’s strong financial success in 2023 demonstrates his long-term impact on the African financial scene.

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