CBZ Holdings Limited is planning to spread its insurance business to five Sadc countries next year, as part of its global reach strategy.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
In 2014, the bank adopted a new vision for the company, which was “the preferred provider of financial solutions in Zimbabwe, with a global reach”. The strategy to enter into regional countries comes after extensive research by the bank showed opportunities in insurance.
CBZ Holdings group CEO, Never Nyemudzo told NewsDay on Tuesday that insurance was less costly compared to banking and asset management.
“We carried out detailed research in Sadc countries, in Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique. As we speak, there are a number of opportunities from banking, insurance to asset management that are before us for consideration. There is also a need to conduct due diligence so that we can understand the risk we require,” he said.
“So there are two options for us, we can either set a green field project or we can get there and partner up with those who have already been in that environment. Our starting point is our insurance businesses. We have got our insurance businesses in front and it is from our insurance businesses that we can then hook on other issues.”
Nyemudzo could not be drawn into revealing how much they would invest, fearing competition from rivals.
Opportunities in insurance come as a result of the continuing decline of commodity prices largely felt in Southern African countries.
As such, investors would want to move into money markets that offer the second best stable investment climate with insurance being chief among them.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and market researcher MMC Capital placed the group’s banking division as having the largest capital and deposit base in the country.
According to the central bank, CBZ Bank had a core capital of $212,72 million as at June 30 this year.
“CBZ has grown to be the leading player in most of the sectors we operate in. In the banking sector we are in pole position, in asset management and properties we are third. This means that our track record locally is very solid and our financial strength is very solid. It is this understanding and realisation that we have established ourselves so strongly locally that we believe this is a strong launch pad for us to start looking beyond the borders of Zimbabwe, which can carry us outside,” he said
Nyemudzo said CBZ Holdings would also want to promote earnings diversity and stability, with the non-banking subsidiaries contributing 20% versus 80% from the banking units.
He said, “to achieve this, entering into new markets becomes one of the key initiatives”.
Insurance has contributed to the CBZ group’s consolidated balance sheet standing at above
$2 billion to date.