Covid, recession claim SBN profit

SBN Holdings' provision for credit impairments increased significantly, reflecting the anticipated impact of Covid-19.

16 September 2020 | Business

The impact of Covid-19 on our operating and business activities is evident in our financial results. – SBN Holdings

Jo-Maré Duddy – By now, the prolonged recession and impact of Covid-19 wreaking havoc on the bottom-line of locally-listed groups isn’t anything new. SBN Holdings’ latest half-year results re-affirms this with the group taking a profit hit of nearly N$55.5 million compared to the same six months in 2019.

SBN Holdings, with Standard Bank Namibia as its flagship brand, reported a profit after tax of about N$226.89 million for the six months ended 30 June 2020, down 19.6% compared to the same period last year.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has marked a turning point in the global economy, ushering uncertainty into a year that had been expected to mark the beginning of Namibia’s long-awaited journey towards economic recovery. This unique circumstance has exacerbated the prolonged slump of the Namibian economy,” SBN Holdings said in its interim results released on the Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) yesterday.

“The impact of Covid-19 on our operating and business activities is evident in our financial results,” the group added.

Interest income

SBN Holdings’ net interest income declined by 4.3% to N$630 million due to the 2.75% reduction in prime interest rate since June last year, as well as a decrease in loans and advances to customers, the group said.

Gross loans and advances to customers fell by 3.3% or about N$756.5 million on an annual basis to around N$22.4 billion at the end of June 2020.

The group said the decrease was “in line with subdued private sector credit extension activities which have seen its lowest growth year-on-year since 2002”.

SBN Holdings said non-interest revenue declined by 3.6% to N$587 million due to a decrease in volume-based fees as a result of Covid-19.

The group’s latest results show credit impairment charges of nearly N$151.2 million. This is an improvement of 15.3% compared to the previous half-year.

“The prior year impairment included a charge of N$71 million raised in respect of one sector that has not reoccurred during 2020,” SBN Holdings said.

However, the group added: “The group has stress-tested future macroeconomic scenarios with resulting provisions raised attributed to Covid-19. Adjusting for the large provision raised in 2019, our provision increased by N$44 million (41%), which reflects the impact of COVID-19 on credit impairments.”

Adequate capital

SBN Holdings’ operating expenses increased by 7.7% to N$743 million during the period under review, which the group attributes to a decline in headcount which supported slower growth in staff costs.

“Other operating expenses increased due to higher spend on security and digital capabilities in support of our vision to put our client at the centre of what we do,” SBN Holdings said.

The group’s capital and liquidity position remained strong, with a total capital adequacy ratio of 15.6% and the liquidity position in excess of all internal and regulatory requirements, according to the group.

SBN Holdings listed on the Local Index of the NSX in November last year. Its closing price at the end of 2019 was N$9.20 per share. The group ended Monday at N$7.02 per share.

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