The Group made 10 per cent increase in headline earnings to R 13 billion from R 11.8 billion in 2013, as pre-provision profit rose five per cent to R 27.3 billion and credit impairments declined by 10 per cent to R 6.3 billion.
“Our strategic execution is on track, and we have delivered solid growth in our headline earnings in line with expectations. Demonstrable progress has been made towards meeting our ambitious financial commitments,” Maria Ramos, Barclays Africa Group Chief Executive stated on Tuesday, during a press briefing on the Group’s Annual Report in Johannesburg, South Africa, which was accessed via live conferences by the press across Africa.
“The Group has never been in a stronger position than it is today. These results clearly show that we have built a solid foundation and we are building the ‘Go-To’ bank in Africa.
“We will keep improving our business in South Africa, by picking up the pace on turning around Retail Business Bank (RBB), while simultaneously driving growth in our corporate Bank and Wealth, Investments Management and Insurance (WIMI) franchise across the continent.
“There is great upside in extracting more value from our existing portfolio so this is our main priority for 2015,” Ramos added.
She said the share of their revenue from out South Africa was 19 per cent, already within reach of reach of their target of 20 to 25 per cent.
“We are currently top three in two of our five largest markets by revenues and we have seen strong growth in Ghana and Zambia. But, it is clear that we need to do more in the rest of Africa to become top three in all of our five largest markets,” Ramos stated.
She said, however, growing in Africa also means following their clients into markets where they could leverage their competitive advantages, declaring that Nigeria is an obvious gap that they intended to close.
“The country is particularly relevant for our regional and global corporate clients. And with our strategy of fully local, fully regional, fully global, we can add value to our clients in Nigeria.
“This is why we have started the process to apply for the necessary licenses that will allow us to build a domestic presence for our Corporate and Investment Banking Business in Nigeria, Ramos said.
She said the Group’s Return on Equity increased further to 16.7 per cent from 15.5, with about 80 basis points of this due to higher leverage after their special dividend and the rest from improving their return on assets.
David Hodnett, Barclays Africa Group Deputy Chief Executive said importantly, the Group was gaining traction in turning around their core RBB franchise in South Africa, which accounts for 55 per cent of their earnings.
He said overall RBB customer base of the Group was stabilizing and growing in important segments.