HARARE, August 6 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s largest banking group CBZ Holdings’ earnings jumped 17,4 percent in the first half of the year, as higher interest income helped offset cash shortages and sluggish economic growth.
The southern African country last week sharply cut its 2015 GDP growth forecast to 1,5 percent from the 3,2 percent earlier, citing a poor agriculture season and lack of foreign investment.
Zimbabwe, which abandoned its inflation-ravaged currency in 2009 to adopt foreign currencies, mainly the US dollar, has been battling a dollar shortage.
CBZ on Thursday said basic earnings per share were 5 cents in the half-year, compared to 4,13 cents previously.
Profit after tax was $13,7 million in the six months to June 2015, up from $12,8 million in the same period last year.
CBZ’s huge base of cash-rich depositors and offshore lines of credit have enabled the banking group to lend aggressively and boost interest income.
Richard Wilde, the CBZ chairman, said the group’s share price remained resilient, opening and closing the first half of 2015 unchanged at 10 cents, while its market capitalisation remained steady at $68 million.
The group’s deposits grew to $1,7 billion in the period under review from $1,45 recorded in June last year.
CBZ, with an asset base amounting to $1,96 billion, declared an interim dividend of $1,45 million.