FBCH acquires prime Harare land

HARARE - Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed financial services group FBC Holdings (FBCH) has acquired more than 2 000 hectares of prime land in Harare earmarked for the construction of residential properties.

The group said it expects the move to ease housing shortages in the country, exacerbated by increasing rural-to-urban migration.

According to the National Housing ministry, there is approximately 1,2 million people on the government’s national housing waiting list.

John Mushayavanhu, FBCH’s chief executive, last week said the group — through its subsidiary FBC Building Society FBCBS — had acquired 2,0267 hectares in Helensvale, 10 stands — average 1 000 square metres each in Springvale (Ruwa) — and 9,6 acres in Glen Lorne.

“We are also scouting for more land. Negotiations are at an advanced stage with various land owners for joint venture projects,” he said.

FBCBS, which has constructed various houses across the country, is currently mulling to build 72 cluster homes in Waterfalls.

“If everything goes well we are expecting 36 houses to be done by end of this year,” said Mushayavanhu.

The FBCH boss noted that the diversified financial conglomerate has to date disbursed a further $5 million in direct mortgages and has maintaining a high quality mortgage book.

FBCBS ventured into long-term mortgage lending in 2010, selling houses in Mainway Meadows and Glaudina where it had land banks.

“We have so far sold 75 housing units with a total value of about $6 million between January 2013 and June 2013,” he said.

The mortgage lender has over the years constructed 50 houses in Glaudina (Harare), 160 houses in Mbizo (Kwekwe), seven in Philadelphia (Harare), 10 in Greendale (Harare), 16 in Washington Ave (Waterfalls) and 202 houses in Mkoba 14 (Gweru).

Meanwhile, FBCH said it lost $2,5 million income in the half year to June 30 following the implementation of a central bank directive to control interest rates.

Mushayavanhu contends that the mandatory reduction of bank charges and interest margins had weighed heavily on the total income, which only increased $100 000 to $36,8 million.

However, the group’s total income is expected to grow in the second half on the back of increased volumes, particularly at the manufacturing unit Turnall.

The group’s net interest income grew a modest five percent to $9,9 million, contributing 27 percent to the total income like the same period last year.

Fees and commission income increased two percent to $11,5 million due to increased volume of transactions.

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