Atlas Mara records $7,1m profit in 9 months

Atlas Mara records $7,1m profit in 9 months

HARARE, October 29 (The Source) – London-listed financial services group, Atlas Mara Plc, says its profit after tax for the nine months ended September 30, 2015 surged to $7,1 million compared to a loss of $38,7 million recorded in the same period last year.

The company, which owns Pan-African banking group BancABC, reported net interest income growth of 19,1 percent, non-interest revenue growth of 22 percent and flat operating expenses.

On an adjusted operating profit basis, Atlas Mara reported a profit of $23,7 million compared to $13,3 million in 2014 and a cost to income ratio of 79,9 percent – reflecting the company’s focus on driving cost efficiencies.

Atlas Mara chief executive John Vitalo said the group’s results in the period under review mirrored the company’s continued focus on acquiring the right assets and being astute operators.

“We place particular emphasis on prudently growing the asset base, reducing funding costs, delivering efficiencies and launching innovative products and services for our customers,” he said.

In the period under review, loans and advances grew by 14,4 percent on a constant currency basis, reflecting Atlas Mara’s emphasis on improvements in credit origination processes.

Deposits also increased by 9,7 percent on a constant currency basis, underscoring the company’s focus on funding and liability management.

The Bob Diamond owned financial services group noted that retail deposits now comprise 19 percent of the total deposit book compared to 13 percent at June 30 and 17 percent at December 31 last year.

Asset recoveries totalled $17,5 million for the nine month period reflecting the continued focus on this area.

“Reported equity at period end was $605,9 million, a decline from December 31, 2014 of $76.5 million, largely due to $79,9 million of foreign exchange translation losses driven by the strengthening of the U.S. Dollar against most African currencies, particularly the Nigerian Naira, Botswana Pula and Zambian Kwacha.

“Implied book value per share at September 30, 2015 was $8,73, compared to $9,13 at June 30, 2015,” the company said.

Atlas Mara, which is in talks to buy Finance Bank Zambia Plc, has reached an agreement to invest approximately $21 million in Banque Populaire du Rwanda Limited (BPR).

Vitalo said upon completion of the BPR transaction, Atlas Mara will be the largest bank in Rwanda by distribution network and second largest bank in Rwanda by assets as the group pursues its acquisitive strategy.

“In relation to Finance Bank Zambia, our discussions are ongoing, but similarly speak to our intentions to execute follow-on transactions in attractive sub-Saharan African markets, such as Zambia,” he said.