AfrAsia restructures

HARARE - A restructuring exercise looms at AfrAsia Kingdom Zimbabwe Limited (AKZL) as the financial services group plans to streamline operations to improve efficiency and contain costs.

Sekai Chitemerere, AKZL’s communications head, told businessdaily that the group was “reviewing its business in line with the changing competitive landscape of the financial services sector in Zimbabwe”.

“The group believes that a lean, focused and efficient structure is ideal in this environment and it will steer AKZL to achieve its strategic goals,” said Chitemerere.

This comes as AKZL’s flagship subsidiary Kingdom Bank’s managing director Francois Molife and the group’s human resources head Kuda Makwara resigned recently.

Molife and Makwara’s departure comes hard on the heels of a restructuring of the group’s board in February following the acquisition of a 35 percent stake in AKZL, then Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited, by Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank Limited (Afrasia) in a $9,5 million deal.

Apart from the restructuring exercise, Chitemerere said the group was reviewing its product and service offering and had already off loaded its securities brokerage subsidiary Kingdom Stockbrokers (Private) Limited as part of its strategic refocus.

This comes amid speculation that the group’s banking subsidiary might focus more on investment banking rather than commercial banking.

“These and other planned initiatives are expected to assist the group to improve operational efficiency, manage costs, grow revenues from profitable product lines and prepare for organic and acquisitive growth as the economy improves,” added Chitemerere.

AKZL appointed James Benoit, Kamben Padayachy, Jill Rickard and Brian Fredrick as non-executive directors following AfrAsia deal.

Savious Mushosho was appointed group financial director.

The group, which has plans to expand in the continent, said the move helped embrace diversity and achieve the goal to penetrate emerging markets with a global focus.

“They have all begun their tenure and they bring to the board many years of experience in the financial services sector at a global level,” said AKZL board chairperson Sibusisiwe Bango.

“They all have the right mix of experience and will add significant value to the company based on their immense international experience, knowledge of business and past experience in successful global companies,” she said.

“For effectiveness, the AKZL board is distinct from subsidiaries’ boards,” Bango added.

The group recently said it has shelved plans to re-list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) to concentrate on recapitalising its operating units.

The group currently offers a range of financial services through its commercial banking, asset management and micro lending units. - Kudzai Chawafambira

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