Billions of dollars in fines owed by South African companies MTN and Standard Bank to Nigerian regulators could increase the risk to South Africa’s financial system, the central bank said on Wednesday.
The Nigerian central bank in August accused telecoms firm MTN and its lender Stanbic, a Standard Bank subsidiary, of illegally sending $8.1 billion abroad.
The Nigerian government has also demanded $2 billion in related taxes from MTN. The South African mobile operator makes about a third of its annual core profit in the West African country.
The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) said in its semi-annual review of financial stability that the repatriation claim and the $2 billion underpayment in tax amounted to approximately 100 percent of MTN’s market capitalisation.
“Any potential impact on the South African financial system arising from this event will depend on the eventual resolution of the matters raised and MTN Group’s ability to continue meeting its debt obligations,” the bank said.
“A potential worst-case scenario would be for the MTN Group to disinvest from Nigeria,” the central bank added.
In October a Nigerian judge set a hearing for the dispute for Dec. 4.
Some analysts have cited the concentrated foreign currency funding risk posed by MTN and a clutch of other Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed firms as a threat to the currency and the central bank’s foreign exchange reserves.
The central bank said that if there were a spillover from the market turmoil linked to external debt and the foreign currency funding crunch that hit Turkey and Argentina earlier this year, South Africa could suffer sharp capital outflows and exchange rate depreciation.
The rand is already down around 15 percent against the dollar this year, while portfolio flows slumped dramatically in the first half as a local recession exacerbated the global flight from emerging markets.
GTBank Releases Q1 Unaudited Results, Reports Profit Before Tax Of N57.0Billion
Zenith Bank Plc Sustains Market Dominance with Improved Profitability
In the first quarter ended 31 March 2019, Zenith Bank Group recorded improved numbers across key metrics, driven by a solid performance in all business segments. This resulted in a Profit before Tax (PBT) of ₦57 billion, representing a 6% growth over the ₦54 billion achieved in the corresponding period in 2018. The Group’s on-going commitment to cost optimisation on the income statement and statement of financial position ensured earnings per share increased by 7% to ₦1.60 compared to Q1 2018.
The growth in net interest income and operating income by 23% and 1% respectively mitigated the decline in gross earnings. The effective management of cost-to-income ratio, cost of funds and cost of risk offset top-line declines to deliver an enhanced operating income in the period.
Our risk and asset quality continues to improve as cost of risk dropped significantly by 52% from 0.9% in the prior year to 0.4% for the period. This was achieved as impairment charges declined by 54% (₦2.5 billion year on year reduction). Our cost of funds also improved, declining by 25% from 4% in Q1 2018 to 3% at quarter-end. This was supported by a 22% decrease in interest expense of ₦10 billion over the same period, affirming the Group’s robust treasury and liquidity management. Our prudent cost management led to a 5% decline in our cost-to-income ratio by 5% from 53.3% in 2018 to 50.9% in the period with an absolute reduction in operating expenses by ₦2.3 billion year-on-year.
The Group’s retail franchise continues to increase as retail deposits grew by N80bn between December 2018 and March 2019 representing a 9% growth notwithstanding the fact that total customer deposits dropped marginally by 3%. The drop in customer deposits was as a result of rebalancing of the deposit mix as expensive purchased deposits were forgone in favour of cheaper and stickier retail deposits.
The volume and value of transactions across our electronic and digital platforms continue to grow as new customers are being acquired. Our balance sheet continues to strengthen as liquidity ratio is at 66.7%, loan to deposit ratio closed at 43%, and capital adequacy ratio ended the period at 25% respectively and remain above the relevant regulatory thresholds as at 31 March 2019.
Going into the rest of the year and with improving economic fundamentals, we are confident of delivering value to all our stakeholders on our commitments even as we create more opportunities for businesses by supporting them through selective risk asset creation. We shall continue our investments in the retail segment of the market as we consolidate our leadership position in the corporate segment while maintaining a strong balance sheet.
A Woman’s Signature goes on Naira for the first time in 59 years
Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has broken history, as a woman’s signature first time in Nigeria’s 59-year history, is inscribed on the Naira.
Priscilla Ekwere Eleje, who has been acting director of currency and operations at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has been confirmed, substantive director of the apex bank.
She is the first female director of currency in the history of the bank, and her signature has been appended on the naira — breaking another glass ceiling.
Ladi Kwali, Nigeria’s foremost potter, is the only woman on the naira, taking a spot at the back of the N20 note.
Every naira note in the country’s history — save the N20 note — has had the face, name, and signature of a man, up until now.
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