Tinashe Makichi : Business Reporter
LISTED financial services group CBZ Holdings is scouting for investment opportunities in the region with possible destinations already identified, group chief executive Never Nyemudzo said. CBZ has already started the process of reviewing the viability of the identified opportunities as it seeks to diversify its outcome in the face of growing headwinds in the local operating environment.“The group has seen it fit to start scouting for opportunities in the region, so we have already identified the countries of destination and we are currently reviewing the various opportunities before us so that we can then invest.
“The basic objective is to diversify the income from a Zimbabwean source so that we manage the risks that are associated with the local operating environment,” said Mr Nyemudzo while responding to questions at the company’s analyst briefing yesterday.
The company’s plans to expand into the region come at a time when its profitability declined slightly in the half year to June 2016 with after tax profit retreating 13 percent to $11,9 million.
CBZ Holdings revenue for the period was also down 11,9 percent at $73,2 million from $82,3 million recorded in the same comparative period last year.
Mr Nyemudzo said the half-year results were an indication of the challenges affecting the economy.
“The group has managed to maintain and enjoys strong market position with the bank commanding pole position at 31 percent in terms of deposits.
“Strong deposits growth has been achieved under a difficult operating environment. This growth is supported by strong innovation and customer service delivery approach,” said Mr Nyemudzo.
He said since dollarisation deposits have grown by over 206 percent from as low as $50 million in 2010 to the current $1,8 billion.
Mr Nyemudzo said the group has followed a deliberate approach to reprice all lines of credit and at the same time continued to review the cost of funds and project viabilities to enhance borrower performance.
“The quality of earnings remains a key focus area and as such collection of bad debts continues to be intensified. The current rate of non-performing loans is at 7,2 percent compared to the Reserve Bank prescribed 10 percent,” said Mr Nyemudzo.
The group’s total assets for the period increased to $2,06 billion during the period from $1,96 billion during the same period last year. Total advances were down at $1,02 billion compared to the $1,11 billion of the comparative prior period.
Despite the prevailing challenges in the financial sector, CBZ said it responded by strengthening its market presence and synergistic benefits. Aggressive collection of bad debts and rehabilitation of clients with future potential were also some of strategies adopted by the financial services group to enhance performance.
Mr Nyemudzo said the group is also looking at strengthening its presence in the infrastructure market, as it seeks to contribute to resolving the national housing backlog.
He said significant developments continued to be recorded in the medium to high density residential property sector.