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ZB explores options to tackle inflation

FINANCIAL services group, ZB Holdings says it will continue pursuing strategies to defend its balance sheet from rampaging inflation.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed outfit posted an inflation adjusted net profit after tax of $6,069 billion during the half year ended June 30, 2022.

The figure was 165% higher than the $2,287 billion recorded in the comparative period in 2021.

ZB chairperson  Pamela Chiromo said that priority in the months ahead had been placed on preserving value for the group.

“The group’s strategic priority for the remaining months of 2022 is to continuously seek ways to preserve its capital from inflation-induced value erosion,” Chiromo said in a commentary to the financial statement.

“In addition, a significant focus will be targeted at completing the sprints of the organisational transformation programme with the goal of making happy customers through the provision of service excellence; and also enhancing group performance outturn.”

ZB recorded a 58% increase in inflation adjusted operating costs, from $5,970 billion in June 2021 to $9,413 billion during the review period.

They largely emanated from upward pressure on cost structures resulting from the inflationary environment.

Firms have been fighting to forestall the effects of rocketing inflation.

The annual rates rose to 285% this month, from 256% previously, in one of the most aggressive increase.

ZB Bank Limited, the firm’s flagship operation, saw its inflation adjusted net profit after tax improve from $1,474 billion in 2021 to $5,148 billion during the review period.

ZB Reinsurance’s net profit after tax in inflation adjusted term, improved from $277, 56 million in 2021 to $990,70 million during the review period.

ZB CEO Shepherd Fungura said expansion plans into the Botswana market were now at an advanced stage as the company opened for business in June this year.

“The group continued to progress its organisational transformation programme during the review period,” Fungura said.

“The programme is designed to transform the organisational design into a more people-centric one, and to enhance the customer journey in order to delight the group’s customers through a combination of digitalisation and service excellence. 

“As part of the transformation, the group has come up with new structures designed to remove silos in its operations and is currently making new appointments in line with the new structure —this exercise is scheduled for completion in Q3 2022. 

“The group also continued to progress the conversion of branches into one-stop customer service centres, with 14 branches having been converted to service centres as at June 30, 2022.”

.As at June 30, 2022, all group companies, with the exception of ZB Building Society, were in compliance with prescribed minimum capital requirements.

The group is finalising on options available to address the capital adequacy challenges at ZB Building Society, which are expected to be completed by December 31 2022.

The possible merger is meant to create an operation that conforms to central bank capital requirements.

If consummated, a merger will complete a trend that started about a decade ago, when building societies started fizzling out of the landscape, with many of them taken over by commercial banks.

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