COVID-19 outbreak can affect revenue growth – Absa CEO

Mr Daniel Mminele, the Chief Executive of Absa Bank Group, has expressed fears that the COVID-19 outbreak can impact the Bank’s revenue growth this year.

He said although the Bank generally had an improved revenue growth for the 2019 financial year, the situation could change as a result of the coronavirus.

The Group recorded a nine per cent growth in gross profit in 2019 but it is unsure to record much progress because of the outbreak, which had spread to some parts of Africa as well.

Mr Mminele said this at a meeting with the Bank’s management and staff and stakeholders in South Africa to deliver its 2019 Financial Results.

The meeting was broadcast live via an audio link to Ghanaian stakeholders.

Mr Mminele noted that the COVID-19 was a top risk for any organisation or business, and called on every business manager to be alert.

“We will continue to drive the execution of our strategic objectives with agility, and take advantage of emerging opportunities, while managing risks more effectively in response to changes in the operating environment.”

However, he said, Absa had created a team that followed closely the updates on the COVID-19 to enable it to implement its activities with guidance for staff and customers.

“We are watching the situation as it unfolds and taking a closer look at the market so that we can effectively manage risks in that regard. It is something that we are taking seriously to be sure our clients and staffs are fed with the most salient information to protect themselves,” he said.

Touching on the progress made by the Bank, Mr Mminele said it delivered a resilient performance against a challenging macroeconomic backdrop and maintained a balance sheet momentum with growth being broad-based across most businesses.

Mr Jason Quinn, the Financial Director of Absa Group, said the Group’s revenue increased by six per cent while the headline earnings, the measure most analysts used to gauge profit, rose by one per cent as impairments increased.

“Our revenue growth is showing an improving trend, with strong deposit growth of 12 per cent and customer loan growth of nine per cent for the Group,” he said.

To accelerate Absa’s business momentum and transform its strategic trajectory, he said the Group had selected key priorities with regards to the unfolding macro-economic environment.

They include growing customer and client primacy ahead of the market across business portfolio, advancing the digital maturity of its business to be competitive, and creating new revenue streams by building a market leading payments capability.

Others are to accelerate the journey of becoming a thriving, entrepreneurial organisation supported by an enabling organisational architecture, leveraging strategic partnerships, and driving operational efficiencies.

Mr Quinn said Absa Group Limited had a capital adequacy of 15.8 per cent in 2019, while Absa Bank Limited had a capital adequacy of 16.7 per cent.

Absa Group Limited is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and is one of Africa’s largest diversified financial services group.

It offers an integrated set of products and services across personal and business banking, corporate and investment banking, wealth and investment management and insurance.

It operates in 12 countries in Africa, with Ghana being the second largest branch after South Africa.