REVIEW OF THE PERIOD
The macroeconomic environment in the four countries in which the group operates continued to be challenging in the first half of 2017, with Mozambique experiencing default in its sovereign debt. However there are signs of recovery and stability in Malawi and Zambia as evidenced by Kwacha stability in both countries and a downward trend in inflation and bank rate especially in Malawi. Strong and prudent fiscal management continue to underpin the economic stability in Botswana. Central banks in all countries are focusing on price stabilization and supporting domestic demand to guide them in their monetary policies.
Robust performance in Malawi, Zambia and Botswana has underpinned growth in the group’s half year profit after tax of K5.03 billion, representing a year on year growth of 79% from June 2016. Deposits grew by 21% with the group continuing to focus on reducing cost of funding by growing its current and savings accounts. Assets for the group have grown to K365 billion year on year with a significant growth registered in money market investments.
The group is closely monitoring the operating environment to ensure that it is well positioned to take advantage of opportunities that will arise without taking unnecessary risks that might negatively affect its capital position and shareholder wealth. In view of this, the loan book grew by 21% with excess liquidity invested in low risk money market instruments. The 22% growth in group’s interest income has therefore been largely driven by growth in earnings from money market investments.
Non-interest income has grown 35% year on year against the backdrop of increased transactional banking income and a rebound in the group’s investments in the listed equities. Costs for the period grew by 9% and cost to income ratio for the group decreased to 58% from 70%, a testament of the group’s policy to contain costs.
We remain optimistic of continued improvement in macroeconomic environment in all countries in the short to medium term. This will have a positive impact on the group’s performance for the rest of the year.
The Directors have decided that a first interim dividend will not be paid. This decision has been made in an effort to maintain a strong regulatory capital position considering the restructuring process that the company is currently undergoing.
By order of the Board,
Dheeraj Dikshit – Group Managing Director
Michael Kadumbo – Chief Finance Officer
Hitesh Anadkat – Chairman