African Bank expects better trading year

THE country's biggest micro-lender, African Bank Investments Limited (Abil), says that while trading conditions are not expected to show any material improvement in the short term, the group expects a stronger performance for the full year.

THE country's biggest micro-lender, African Bank Investments Limited (Abil), says that while trading conditions are not expected to show any material improvement in the short term, the group expects a stronger performance for the full year.

Chief executive Leon Kirkinis said this was because of the better sales momentum in recent months, the expectation of lower bad debt charges, and the benefits of cost-saving initiatives.

"At the same time, the integration of the group's financial services activities within the African Bank business unit will enable more efficient utilisation of capital and liquidity balances, with a positive impact on overall group returns," he added.

Kirkinis said African Bank is targeting an acceleration in its sales growth, a lower rate of increase in operating costs, more efficient application of cash resources and improved collections from its branches.

"Ellerines' priorities for the next six months will remain on margin delivery, stock management, supply chain optimisation and sales growth, while the financial services part of the business will concentrate on finalising the integration and providing innovative value-added products to its customer base," he said.

Abil yesterday reported headline earnings declined from R937million to R914million for the six months ended March.

The group's furniture division, Ellerines, produced headline earnings of R201million compared with R190million in 2009. - I-Net Bridge

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