Barclays returns to profitability

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Barclays Bank Zimbabwe returned to profitability from a loss position last year after posting an after-tax profit of $1, 4 million for the full year ended December 2011 and plans to increase its client base by at least 6% this year.

In 2010, Barclays recorded a loss of $1, 3 million.
Basic earnings per share improved to 0,07 cents from a negative 0,06 cents in the previous year.

Presenting the company’s financial results, Barclays managing director George Guvamatanga said underlying revenue for the year after impairment charges and excluding special support received from Barclays head office amounted to $32 million, an increase of 27%.

Non-funded income comprised 65% of total income.
“The bank has targeted 14% growth in 2012 and hopes to grow its customer base by at least 6% from 165 000,” Guvamatanga said.

The bank received $7,7 million in special support from Barclays International to cover a restructuring exercise.

He said the improved results were projected to continue if the relatively stable macroeconomic fundamentals were maintained.

“We believe that we have a full optimised structure that is very efficient and we will continue to grow a quality loan book as well as leverage off share structure within the group,” Guvamatanga said.

He said banking industry deposits continued to grow having closed the year at about $3,3 billion.

In 2012, the bank will focus on widening the product range mainly for the retail customers as well as enhancing distribution and service channels.

It also plans to roll out Internet banking to remaining and new customers during the first half of the year after its initial launch in the fourth quarter of last year.
Mobile banking will also be rolled out during the year.

“We are very positive about prospects of 2012 despite the challenges the market was facing.

“We believe we have grown a strong platform to operate on which will benefit the company,” he said.

“We are confident that the planned service channel initiatives will see growth in both customer base and transaction volumes that will surpass projected average economic growth rate.”

On indigenisation, Guvamatanga said the bank had on various occasions engaged Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere on the issue.

“After 100 years of operations in Zimbabwe, we don’t see ourselves as a foreign bank, but there have been various engagements with the Indigenisation ministry and those discussions continue,” Guvamatanga said.
He said the bank was optimistic an amicable solution would be reached soon.

Barclays finance director Samuel Matsekete said the bank’s capital base continued to be strong with a capital adequacy ratio of 19%.

Loans closed the period 36% up on December 2010 levels of $58,5 million and the liquidity ratio was at 69%.

“The bank is realising savings from the restructuring exercises according to plan.

“The bank’s branch network, including service centres, closed the year at 36 after three were merged into other remaining branches during the first half,” Matsekete said.

He said the loan-loss ratio remained just under 1% largely comprising general provisions.