Nico holdings poised to break new heights

Financial services group Nico Holdings Limited has said it is poised to break new heights based on its 2013 performance which included remarkable profit and its strategic partnership with Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM).

The group’s chairperson Alaudin Osman said although the economies in which the company operates, which include Tanzania, Zambia, Uganda and Mozambique continued to be turbulent, total revenues grew by 56 percent to K65 billion while profit before tax grew by over 380 percent from K2.4 billion to K11.6 billion.

Board members during the AGM
Board members during the AGM

According to Osman, profit for the year attributable to shareholders grew from K438 million to K5.7 billion.

Based on the performance of the financial services group, during its annual general meeting (AGM) held on Friday at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre the company resolved to pay a final dividend of K730.1 million, which is about K0.70 per share.

Regarding the group’s prospects in 2014 Osman said the outlook looks good.

“African growth and entering into smart partnerships remain the drivers of our strategy. While focus on existing operations will continue, we are exploring to set up a new operation in one of our existing markets late 2014 or early 2015 in partnership with a strategic investor,” said Osman.

Osman noted that [SFG Holdings] their company in Zimbabwe was facing a number of challenges with the local partners failing to subscribe for a rights issue. According to Nico, the company is now under voluntary liquidation.

In pursuing smart partnerships, in 2013 the company sold 49 percent of its shares in General Insurance Companies in Malawi, Zambia and Uganda for a total of K2.6 billion to SEM, according to the company.

Nico Holdings managing director Felix Mlusu in the 2013 annual report notes that the company hoped that the austerity economic policies adopted in April 2012 would bear fruit in that year.

“While there was significant improvement recorded in the energy sector, supply of foreign exchange and alignment of monetary policy to economic fundamentals, interest rates have remained prohibitive for business. Economic expectations and optimism were frustrated by [Cashgate],” said Mlusu.

According to the report general insurance premiums grew by 42 percent from K13.2 billion to K18.7 billion, life insurance and pension’s division premiums rose by 61 percent from K8.8 billion to K14.2 billion while asset management revenues doubled from K206.1 million to K411.2 million.

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