Agribank seeks to raise $20mln through agro bills

Agribank seeks to raise $20mln through agro bills

HARARE, May 4, (The Source) – State-owned agro-lender, Agribank, plans to float bills to raise $20 million for the second year running to enhance its capacity to fund Zimbabwe’s agricultural sector.

Chief executive Sam Malaba said the bank would be floating another set of bills this year following the success of a similar tender last yar.

“We will be going back to the market to raise another $20 million to support agriculture,” Malaba said in an interview in Harareon Tuesday.

He did not say when the new agro bills would come to the market.

He spoke a few days after the bank, whose mandate is to finance agricultural production in Zimbabwe, announced a $3,2 million reduction in loss after tax for the year to December 31 2015.

Net interest income rose by 11 percent to $8,2 million, from $7,3 million the previous year.

In 2014, Agribank had reported a $9 million loss after tax and Malaba said its improved financial performance last year wason the back of cost cutting measures.

The measures included a retrenchment programme that cost $4,3 million through 112 job cuts.

Malaba estimates that Agribank will save $2,2 million per annum through the programme, which also led to the closure of two branches.

“Turnaround measures in the year cleared previous impediments for profitable growth,” Malaba said.

“Trading in the last five months of the year (after conclusion of staff rationalisation) was positive with the bank recording monthly profits mainly due to increased business and enhanced trading. Furthermore, the bank was completely removed from the United States sanctions list in February 2016 making it easier to pursue lines of credit and other business growth initiatives.”