Zimbabwe’s ZHL slips to a $3,5 mln loss despite growth in regional portfolio

Zimbabwe’s ZHL slips to a $3,5 mln loss despite growth in regional portfolio

HARARE, May 29 (The Source) – Insurance group Zimre Holdings has posted a $3,5 million loss for the full-year to December 2014 from a profit of $1,4 million recorded in prior year on weakening gross premium written (GPW) and rising costs despite a significant growth in its foreign portfolio, the company reported on Friday.

GPW revenue was down four percent to $74 million weighed down by an underperforming reinsurance business, the company said. Foreign operations contributed 50 percent of GPW in 2014 compared to 43 percent in 2013. ZHL has interests in Mozambique and Malawi is eyeing the South Africa market.

The total comprehensive income for the period under review was a negative $5,2 million compared to a $10,9 million in 2013.

“The decline in performance was mainly attributed to low business generation in the reinsurance operations precipitated by the slowdown in economic performance in Zimbabwe,” group chairman Ben Khumalo said in a statement accompanying the financials.

Going forward, the group said it will continue on with its cost cutting drive to improve earnings.

“The recent injection of capital into ZHL Group has provided with the necessary headroom to re-strategise and improve the performance of its operations and investments,” Khumalo said.

“Cost containment measures, including staff rationalisation which started in 2014, will continue in order to enhance operational efficiency and profitability. Improvement in international credit ratings of the operations is expected to generate new businesses and enable the group to regain and sustain its pole position in both the domestic and regional markets.”

In March government lost of its stake in ZHL after it failed to follow its options in a $15 million rights issues.  The capital raising initiative registered an 18,03 percent level of subscription, reflecting the generally low market appetite for new stock.

NMB Bank, which underwrote the capital raising initiative, was left saddled with nearly 82 percent of the unsubscribed for shares.