The Chairman of RFHL, Ronald F. deC. Harford, explained that the Group’s 2016 performance would have reflected a final profit attributable to equity shareholders of the parent of $1.18 billion if it wasn’t for three one-off items totalling $236.9 million.
In response to this, the Board of Directors declared a final dividend of $3.10 for the financial year ended September 30, 2016. This brings the total year’s dividend to $4.35; the same as that paid in the prior year. The final dividend will be paid on December 01, 2016, to all shareholders on record as at November 14, 2016.
The Chairman mentioned three items that adversely affected the Group’s 2016 performance. They were: a goodwill impairment of $107.3 million recognised on the investment in HFC Bank (Ghana) Limited (HFC), a loss of $117.8 million recorded by HFC, of which RFHL’s 57.11% share is $67.8 million and finally a $61.8 million write-down in RFHL’s 19.3% stake in East Caribbean Financial Holdings Limited.
With regards to the HFC investment, Harford said, “The outlook for the Ghana market and our investment remains positive, as we continue our efforts to strengthen the governance and align its systems and procedures towards establishing a platform to benefit from Ghana’s future growth.” He added that, “Given the projected growth rates for the Ghana economy, the stabilisation of the exchange rate, growth in HFC loan and advances on average of 15% per annum in the last two years, and opportunities in the banking sector, the Group projects that performance will improve in the medium term.”
The Chairman made mention of two strategic initiatives completed during the year:
- The formation of RFHL – the umbrella company for the Group’s main banking subsidiaries. This holding company structure was established on December 16, 2015 and enabled the Bank to segregate and isolate the risk among the various group companies. This has allowed for a more efficient deployment of capital and brought the Bank in alignment with international best practice.
- In the last quarter of the fiscal year 2016, RFHL acquired a further 23.12% shareholding in Republic Bank (Grenada) Limited which increased the total shareholding from 51% to 74.12%. This larger shareholding is in keeping with the Bank’s focus of deepening its footprint across the region and creating a platform for greater operational synergies across the Group.
Harford acknowledges the economic challenges that exist in the economies where the group operates but stressed, “with its strong asset base, solid capital position and robust risk management policies, is well positioned to withstand these challenges.”