Barclays facilitates $300m deals

HARARE - Barclays Bank Zimbabwe (BBZ) said it has facilitated deals worth over $300 million in various sectors of the economy.

The bank’s managing director, George Guvamatanga, yesterday said the financial institution had participated as funders or advisors in six key transactions of national relevance last year.

“We facilitated over $257 million in terms of foreign currency payments for the key sectors of agriculture, manufacturing and energy.

“In the agriculture sector, our support was towards importation of fertiliser, seed and chemicals… With over $50 million offshore funding, we arranged for the tobacco industry…” he said in a statement accompanying the group’s financials for the full year.

Guvamatanga’s remarks come as local banks are struggling to meet offshore client obligations as the country’s cash crisis peaks.

While Guvamatanga said the group had also facilitated for the transaction which eventually led to the completion of Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam, industry estimates indicate that foreign transactions worth over $1 billion are hanging in the balance on the back of low nostro balances.

The central bank has said it expects the situation to improve going into the tobacco marketing season, which starts on March 15, as earnings from the golden leaf are anticipated to bring relief and enable foreign payments to go through.

Meanwhile, Barclays Plc subsidiary recorded a 150 percent surge profit after tax in the year to December 2016, as profitability closed the year at $10,8 million from $3,8 million prior comparable period.

“…And a progressive growth rate of 38 percent over a five year period. With a capital adequacy ratio of 22 percent, we are making steady progress with our objective to build a sustainable business,” Guvamatanga said.

He also pointed out that the bank had maintained its Non-Performing Loan ratio below two percent against an industry average of 7,9 percent.

“Our loans to deposit ratio at 37 percent is a reflection of faster growth in deposits while interest earning assets are up by 17 percent year on year,” he said.

BBZ’s net interest income grew 10 percent to $18,2 million from $16,6 million prior period as total income also grew 26 percent to $58 million from $46,1 million year on year.

However, expenses for the period at $42,6 million were 11 percent higher than prior period with Guvamatanga attributing this growth to higher branch operations costs on the back of steep cash handling related expenses, including cash in transit costs as well as an increase in post-retirement medical costs.

The bank did not declare a dividend for the year.

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