FBC Holdings Limited – Abridged Audited Results FYE 31 December 2023

By Published On: April 11th, 2024Categories: Corporate announcement, Earnings
Fbc Holdings Limited 2023 Abridged Results

FBC Holdings Limited (FBC.zw) 2023 Abridged Report

GROUP CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

I am pleased to present to you FBC Holdings Limited’s Audited Financial Statements and business highlights for the year ended 31 December 2023.

Financial Performance Review – Inflation Adjusted

Notwithstanding the challenges faced in 2023, FBC Holdings achieved a commendable set of financial results. The Group’s profit before tax, adjusted for inflation, was ZWL403.5 billion, which represents a 255% increase from ZWL113.7 billion recorded in the previous year. This notable performance was mainly driven by the growth in total income and in part, by cost containment. The Group’s profit after tax increased by 443% to ZWL327.4 billion.

Total income for the Group increased by 138% to ZWL1.3 trillion, up from ZWL533.0 billion, driven by the growth in all revenue streams, save for insurance and property sales. The Group’s net interest income increased by 69% to ZWL239.8 billion, compared to ZWL142.2 billion in 2022, supported by a 121% growth in loans and advances, which closed the year at ZWL1.6 trillion. The Group’s banking subsidiaries experienced a higher demand for foreign-currency-denominated loans in response to increased usage of multiple currencies for local transactions. The loan book is now predominantly USD-denominated.

The Group’s net fee and commission income registered a 179% growth to ZWL231.5 billion, mainly due to increased transactional volumes across the various digital delivery channels. The Group’s insurance subsidiaries reported an insurance service loss of ZWL12.4 billion due to a persistent mismatch between premium recording, collections and foreign currency-indexed claims.

Total other income, which includes foreign exchange and investment income, grew by 163%, significantly contributing to the Group’s total revenue. This income was mainly derived from the Group’s hedged positions.

Administration expenses increased by 169% to ZWL955.5 billion from ZWL354.8 billion reported in the previous year as a result of the re-pricing of overheads in line with exchange rate movements and inflation trends. Consequently, the Group’s cost-to-income ratio was 75%, compared to 67% in 2022.

The Group’s statement of financial position strengthened to ZWL3.4 trillion, anchored by a growth in loans and advances. Shareholders’ funds grew by 141% to ZWL706 billion, mainly due to increased profitability for the year. The Group remains committed to preserving shareholder value and growth.

Operating Environment

The Zimbabwean economy experienced growth despite the currency instability and high levels of inflation. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the country achieved a GDP growth of 5.3% in 2023, driven by the remarkable expansion of the agricultural and mining sectors. Foreign currency inflows and remittances continue to support the growth of domestic trade and services, which are heavily dollarized. Remittances are expected to remain strong and the current account is projected to be in a small surplus.

Despite the growing disparity between the Zimbabwean Dollar (ZWL) and the United States Dollar (USD) in both the official and alternative markets, we believe that increased dollarization will continue to stabilize the economy. While power outages have continued to have a significant impact on business productivity across all sectors, there was an improvement in power generation capacity in the second half of the year.

The government is making concerted efforts to re-engage with the international community, restore macroeconomic stability, and establish a track record of sound economic policies. We have faith in the structural reforms being implemented by the government to improve the business climate, strengthen economic governance, and reduce vulnerabilities. FBC Holdings will continually seek opportunities to promote sustained and inclusive growth that complements Zimbabwe’s development objectives embodied in the country’s National Development Strategy 1 (2021-2025).

Financial Services

The financial services industry remained stable and profitable in 2023. Market liquidity tightened as the election period approached but gradually eased towards the end of the year. As a result, the financial services sector invested in various hedging strategies to preserve shareholder capital and profitability, resulting in increased revaluation and foreign exchange gains.

The banking sector experienced significant growth in aggregate loans in real terms. Asset quality remained favourable at 3.5%, well below the regulatory threshold of 5%.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe launched the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) II (2022-2026) to promote sustainable livelihoods; create wealth and employment; and support gender equality. The strategy provides clear guidelines for the financial services sector to follow. In this regard, our microfinance subsidiary and fintech unit are developing products and services that promote inclusivity.

Foreign Exchange

During the reviewed period, the country experienced significant changes in foreign exchange rates. The official exchange rate, which was pegged at ZWL930.00:US$1.00 at the beginning of the year, reached a rate of ZWL6 105.00:US$1.00 by the end of the year. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe implemented various measures aimed at enhancing transparency, promoting fair pricing, and stabilizing the foreign exchange market. Some of these measures include increasing the frequency of auctions and introducing a willing-buyer, willing-seller interbank foreign exchange market. Despite these efforts, the foreign exchange market remained volatile throughout the year, negatively impacting economic activity.

Inflation

The government was able to control high annual headline inflation by implementing strict monetary and fiscal policies despite a difficult start to the year. The inflation rate, which began at 34.8%, peaked at 44.1% in February but ultimately decreased to 26.5% by the end of the year. Additionally, the month-on-month inflation rate peaked at 12.1% in June, before dropping to 4.7% in December.

Despite these fluctuations, the Group managed to hedge part of its balance sheet to preserve shareholder value. We commend the government for its continuous efforts to address structural challenges and guide the country towards sustained economic growth and low inflation.

Insurance Sector

The government introduced the Insurance (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (No. 26), through Statutory Instrument 81 of 2023. This regulation discourages credit insurance and aims to manage high-premium debtors as well as improve the quality of insurance collections. Our insurance subsidiaries are expected to benefit through increased cash inflows and increased investments, subsequently improving the capacity to settle claims. On 28 November 2023, the government launched the third Money Laundering National Risk Assessment (ML-NRA). This initiative encourages all insurance companies to perform sectoral and institutional risk assessments to heighten awareness of money laundering risks on a national scale. I am pleased to report that our Group’s insurance subsidiaries remained compliant with all regulatory requirements throughout the year.

Property Market

Although some sectors of the real estate market demonstrated resilience during the period under review, the overall market faced challenges due to the economic environment. Towards the end of the year, the multi-currency regime stabilized and there was increased circulation of the United States Dollar (USD), resulting in a slight growth in the construction of residential properties. Sales of residential properties, however, remained low due to the market’s insistence on foreign currency payments. Demand for Central Business District (CBD) office space continued to decline as most occupants shifted their preference to the suburban market. This shift was primarily due to high rentals, increased parking fees, and traffic congestion in the CBD. Resultantly, many corporate entities are migrating to the suburban market. Nonetheless, the rental market remained highly active in 2023, with most rentals denominated in USD.

The Group firmly believes that the development of strong communities is dependent on the country’s ability to meet the basic needs of its people. In the review period, we supported national housing initiatives by providing over 300 rental units at Fontaine Ridge (Harare) and at Eastlea (Zvishavane). Additionally, we constructed thirteen townhouses in Glen Lorne, further contributing to the development of the area.

Stock Market Performance

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange All Share Index gained 981.54% in the year ending December 31, 2023, closing at 210 833.92 points. Liquidity constraints, however, resulted in low trading volumes on the local bourse, due to strict monetary and fiscal policies aimed at controlling inflation and exchange rate movements. The market capitalization of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange increased by 722.20%, reaching ZWL16.8 trillion. In US dollar terms, the ZSE All Share Index and market capitalisation both declined by 7.78% and 32% respectively, having been adjusted for migrations to the Victoria Stock Exchange. The market capitalisation was recorded at US$1.48 billion in US dollar terms.

Meanwhile, the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange All Share Index declined 25.69%, while the market capitalization rose 74% to US$1.2 billion.

FBCH Share Price Performance

The FBCH share price closed the year at ZWL906.05 after gaining 1,361.37%. Subsequently, the Group’s market capitalization improved from ZWL41.7 billion to ZWL608.8 billion. During the year, a total of 9.52 million shares were traded at a weighted average price of ZWL656.18. The Group remains committed to the preservation and growth of shareholder value.

Sustainability

FBC Holdings believes that the organization’s long-term success hinges on its connectedness to and alignment of its operations with the environmental and social priorities of the communities it serves. The company has integrated sustainability best practices into its core strategy and is collaborating with partners and stakeholders to create more sustainable and inclusive communities. The primary goal is to redefine finance by making it affordable, accessible, and inclusive, while nurturing sustainable solutions in response to evolving stakeholder needs and the changing global economic and regulatory landscape.

The Group appreciates the regulatory authorities’ commitment to facilitating sustainable growth and returns, by prioritizing sustainability and climate-related risks and opportunities. In 2023, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Climate Risk Management Guideline and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) sustainability disclosures were introduced, capital allocation and compelling all players to consider environmental impact, as they pursue profitability. The Group has significantly progressed in adopting these sustainability best practices.

Our Community Impact

The Group has continued with its community-driven initiatives which are designed to create long-term benefits for vulnerable communities. The Group invested over USD580,000.00 in community-driven initiatives during the review period. Entembeni Old People’s Home in Bulawayo, Shungu Dzevana Children’s Home farm in Mhondoro and Gurungweni Secondary School in Chikombedzi received assistance in the form of groceries, farming implements, and building materials. The Group also sponsored the 2023 Zimbabwe Open Golf Championship as the title sponsor in association with the Zimbabwe Golf Association (ZGA), which has a vibrant grassroots training program, aimed at exposing disadvantaged youth to the world of golf.

Digital Transformation and Innovation

In today’s fast-changing financial landscape, digital transformation and innovation are no longer optional but necessary. FBC Holdings understands this and is committed to the journey of digital transformation. Through our dedicated fintech unit, we continuously review the Group’s technology architecture and develop comprehensive strategies that align with the customers’ ever-changing needs. Our main goal is to provide a secure, user-friendly, and seamless digital experience, increase resource efficiency and foster a culture of innovation across FBC Holdings.

Our major milestones for the year ending 31 December 2023 include seamless customer onboarding, lending platforms and payment solutions. These digital advancements have enabled FBCH to improve service, operational efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance. We aim to be a leading force in the market, building a future-proof organization centred on customer needs and continuous stakeholder engagement. While we celebrate our achievements in 2023, we understand the importance of exploring and integrating emerging technologies into our business to respond to the evolving needs of our diverse customer base.

Compliance

The Group understands the importance of maintaining stakeholder trust and confidence in its pursuit of providing excellent service. Throughout the reporting period, we have continued to prioritize compliance and governance as fundamental pillars of our business strategy. Our Board of Directors provides robust oversight of our compliance efforts, ensuring that we adhere to the highest standards of corporate governance and ethical conduct. We have established clear lines of accountability and a robust framework for monitoring and evaluating compliance risks, which enable us to identify and mitigate potential issues in a timely and effective manner.

Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe (SCBZ) Acquisition Update

During the period under review, the shareholders of FBC Holdings Limited approved the acquisition of Standard Chartered Bank’s operations in Zimbabwe. The Group has subsequently received most of the necessary regulatory approvals and is working towards fulfilling conditions precedent to the acquisition. The complete takeover of the business is expected in the second half of the year.

Directorate

The Board of Directors of FBC Holdings wishes to advise that Dr John Mushayavanhu stepped down as Group Chief Executive of FBC Holdings with effect from 31 December 2023, following his appointment as Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. The Group is grateful for his exceptional leadership over the years and wishes him success in his new role.

Subsequently, the Board of Directors of FBC Holdings Limited appointed Mr Trynos Kufazvinei as the Group Chief Executive of FBC Holdings Limited, effective 1 January 2024. Prior to his new role, he was the Deputy Chief Executive of FBC Holdings and has a proven track record of success as part of the core team that has been instrumental in the development and execution of corporate strategy over the years. He is well-positioned to lead the FBCH team and advance the growth of the FBC brand.

Furthermore, the Board wishes to advise that Mr Webster Rusere, the Managing Director of FBC Bank Limited, was appointed Deputy Group Chief Executive of FBC Holdings Limited, effective 1 January 2024. Mr Abel Magwaza was appointed Group Finance Director with effect from 1 January 2024, he was previously an executive director with FBC Bank.

The Board looks forward to a productive stewardship of the new appointees.

Dividend

I am pleased to advise that the Company has declared a final dividend of US 0.45 cents per share. This is in addition to an interim dividend of US 0.45 cents, which was paid in September 2023. The dividend is payable to Shareholders registered in the books of the Company at the close of business on Friday 19 April 2024. The shares of the Company will be traded cum-dividend on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange up to the market day of 15 April 2024 and ex-dividend as from 16 April 2024. The dividend payment will be made to Shareholders on or about 29 April 2024.

Outlook

GDP is projected to be around 3.5% in 2024, which is a decrease from 5.3% in 2023. This partly reflects the impact of the El Nino drought on agricultural production and lower commodity prices. The Group will continue to scout for opportunities to create value for all key stakeholders, while emphasizing the preservation of capital.

Appreciation

Despite operating in a challenging environment, our Group has managed to not only survive but thrive, thanks to the unwavering support of our esteemed customers. Their loyalty has been a beacon of hope and motivation, enabling us to overcome obstacles and emerge stronger than ever before. We are deeply grateful to all stakeholders for their trust and confidence in us and we remain committed to providing them with the highest standards of service and quality that they have come to expect from us. To the FBC Holdings Board, management, and staff, we extend our heartfelt appreciation for your unparalleled guidance, commitment, and exceptional performance.

Herbert Nkala
FBC Holdings Chairman

30 March 2024