ABC Holdings (ABCH) Limited Group acting Chief Executive Officer Dr Blessing Mudavanhu has assured that the arrival of Atlas Mara Co-Nvest as the shareholder in the pan African bank will put the bank among the top in the existing markets during the current year and beyond.
ABCH is the mother company of a number of banks in the Southern region operating under the BancABC brand. The bank has operations in five countries of Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Mudavanhu was speaking on Tuesday during the group’s presentation of the financial results for the year ended 31 December 2014. Mudavanhu, who is part of the group’s new directorship on interim basis following the departure of the previous leadership led by Douglas Munatsi back in December, said the bank is now more liquid than ever before.
This comes after the group made a loss of P438 million when compared to the attributable profit of P198 million in 2013 financial year. The rise in losses is blamed on increased impairments, reduced margins and increased expenses which included remuneration to the previous regime.
Despite the massive losses, Mudanavhu was this week optimistic that the recent take-over by Atlas Mara will set a new foundation for the group to be a significant player in the market it operates in. The group intends to leverage on the use of technology and launch innovative products.
Further the bank intends to improve on delivery by way of sourcing new talent, brand enhancement and use of sound corporate governance.
As far as the financial results are concerned, the banking group experienced a mixed performance across the countries it operates in. The bank’s acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Wallace Siakachoma noted that the bank’s balance sheet continues to grow.
During the year customer deposits increased by 16 percent against a 6 percent increase of loans and advances. The balance sheet grew by 11 percent during the period.
Both the Net Interest Income (NIC) and Non-Interest Income (NII) are lower than the previous period, going down by 9 percent and 10 percent respectively. In the NII line, fair value losses on equity investments, debentures and investment properties of P60 million compared to fair value gains totalling P85 million are included as contributors to the slowdown.
At subsidiary level, all the subsidiaries suffered losses, culminating with a total loss of P65 million among all them. The decline in profitability across all subsidiaries is said to be largely due to larger impairments.
On the other hand, operating expenditure for the group went up by 19 percent to arrive at P1.3 billion from P1.1 billion registered in the previous year. Expansion of the group’s retail outlets is reported to have resulted in higher costs across board. Also included in the costs are once-off termination benefits of P75 million paid to the departed executive management. BancABC, which delisted from the Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) early this year, did not recommend any dividend payment.