Bob Diamond’s Atlas Mara sees profits dive

Credit WEF

Net profits of $ 1.2 million in the first six months of 2016 were 71% lower than the same period a year earlier. But that was still a return to profit after a $ 6.7 million loss for the first three months of 2016.

The London-listed firm pointed to “the decline in African currencies, a worse macroeconomic backdrop and market liquidity tightness across a number of our markets” as drivers for the year-on-year drop in profits. Chief executive John Vitalo said the first half had “presented a particularly difficult operating environment”.

However, the firm added: “Our business performance has been improving over the course of 2016 with the second quarter better than the first and, with June representing our best month of the first half of this year. July has continued this trend.”

Since the end of the first half, the firm said it had “executed a group-wide cost-reduction programme” that would “align our cost base with the current revenue environment”.

That cost-cutting will see headcount reduced by between 30% and 35% in its shared services and centre units, the firm added.

Atlas Mara’s businesses include Union Bank of Nigeria, Botswana-based BancABC and BRD Commercial, headquartered in Kigali, Rwanda. It has added two further acquisitions to these during the first half of 2016: Banque Populaire du Rwanda and Finance Bank Zambia.

Atlas Mara said in April that it was exploring the possibility of purchasing Barclays’ 62.3% stake in its Barclays Africa business, which the UK bank is selling down.

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