Barclays Bank of Botswana (BBB), the biggest commercial bank in the country, is taking a strategic review that would enable it to use its weight to dominate its peers in the mortgage and asset and vehicle markets.
The new plans, which will see Barclays taking an offensive stance against the First National Bank of Botswana, were unveiled by its Managing Director, Thuli Johnson, at the announcement of the results on Friday.
?We are taking a review of certain divisions. We would like to deepen our home loans, assets and vehicle finance and insurance,? Johnson said.
The move comes at a time when the bank?s loan book was nearly flat but its balance-sheet was aided by the treasury department.
According to full year results to end of December 2006, profits after tax were P 293 million against P235 million in the previous year. Revenue stood at P 1 billion from P 762 million.
?Overall, full year performance in terms of profit before tax is up 26 percent on comparative period and second half performance is up over the half year position at 19 percent,? the company said in a statement on Friday. ?Earnings per share are up 00.06 thebe per share from 28 thebe to 34 thebe. Dividend per share is up three thebe from 13 thebe to 16 thebe (23 percent increase). Overall a 13 percent increase in net interest income to P 428 million.?
He said 2006 was a tough year for corporate lending, which remained flat at about P 100 million, but conceded that the division is also undergoing an intensive review. The past year was characterized by high interest rates, which kept a lot of corporate entities from lending, and slow government spending that affected growth.
There is a silver-lining for his bank this year, he said, as it is gearing to take advantage of the Public Private Partnership initiatives. So far the bank has been short-listed as a preferred bidder for the SADC House and the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism.
It has also bid for the privatization of the Botswana Telecommunications.
?The outlook is that inflation will decline slightly and we are forecasting growth of 5-to- 7 percent,? said Johnson. ?There are also opportunities in northern Botswana due to mining. We also see opportunities in PPPs, where we have been short-listed as the preferred bidder in two projects.? He added that corporate lending is expected to remain tight over the year.
The bank is also taking stock of its direct sales and credit card performances to try to strengthen the balance-sheet.