One of Africa’s largest financial services providers, Absa Group Limited, reported an increase in revenue and earnings for 2018.
This gain, according to the group, came in a year of almost unprecedented corporate activity as the group re-positioned itself for delivery against a new growth strategy as an independent African bank.
Normalised headline earnings of the group increased 3% to R16.1 billion compared with 2017 and revenue increased 4% to R75.7 billion. Shareholders will receive a final dividend of R11.10 per share, a 4% increase from the final 2017 dividend.
The earnings are considered the best measure of underlying group performance as it strips out the distorting effect of items related to the separation from Barclays Plc.
Absa Group Financial Director, Jason Quinn noted that despite challenges within the year, the group still managed to increase its earnings.
“Despite a challenging backdrop, we are particularly pleased with our improved momentum as we embark on our new growth strategy. This was evident in our gross loans to customers which increased by 13%.”
“Last year was a year of almost unprecedented activity for Absa Group as the business was re-set as an independent bank after Barclays Plc reduced its shareholding to a minority stake in 2017,” Absa Group CEO René van Wyk,said.
Absa Group announced a new strategy in March as it repositioned itself as an independent African banking group focused on growth.
In April, a new operating model was implemented to structure the business for delivery against the new strategy.
In June, Absa Group achieved regulatory deconsolidation from Barclays PLC, which meant that regulators no longer regarded the two businesses as a consolidated entity.
In July, the group started trading as Absa Group and launched refreshed brand in South Africa.
Absa opened an office in London in September, strengthening its ability to serve European and global corporates.
In 2018, the group also stepped up its digital customer offerings through Chat Banking on WhatsApp, a mobile app called Timiza amongst other things.
“With major changes bedded down in 2018, the framework for the business has been re-set.
“The strong leadership team and structure that was put in place over the past year can now deepen the efforts within their business units to deliver against our ambitious growth strategy, Mr. Van Wyk.”
Commenting on the Group results, Absa Regional Operations Chief Executive, Peter Matlare said; “We are pleased with the contribution of our African operations to Absa Group’s overall performance and we remain focused on contributing to the Group’s ambition of growing revenue market share on the continent over the coming years.”
He added: “As Absa Group, we are optimistic about the outlook for the continent and we stand ready to partner with stakeholders across the continent to develop strong, digitally led financial systems while supporting the growth of economies for the long term.”
Managing Director of Barclays Bank Ghana Abena Osei-Poku said: “As we join in reflecting on our parent company’s full year results for 2018, we are excited about our own future as we make progress on our journey to the new Absa brand in Ghana.
“Our transition to a new brand in the near future presents us with a unique and exciting opportunity to leverage our rich African heritage and deep understanding of the local market to drive relevant initiatives that can unlock Ghana’s potential and support its growth,” she added.