By Duncan Mlanjira
NICO Holdings Plc has posted K21 billion as profit before tax for the year ended 31st December, 2019 — up from K16 billion made in 2018 and representing a growth rate of 34% growth year on year.
And from the results, the company’s board of directors has declared K469 million as dividend for its shareholders at 45 tambala per share.
This was disclosed during the company’s annual general meeting (AGM) held virtually on Friday in line of observing social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an interview after the AGM, NICO Holdings’ chairman, Gaffar Hassam said the results have shown that the company has performed extremely well as it continues to grow its value for the benefit of the shareholders.
He also announced that the company continues to do well despite the COVID-19 pandemic which has greatly affected business operations in most Malawian companies as well as globally since the beginning of this year.
NICO Holdings’ half year financials show that despite the challenging global and local operating environment, profit after tax before other comprehensive income increased by 5% to K7.64 billion from K7.29 for the same period in 2019.
The financials says the Group’s profitability was driven by good performance from the banking and asset management businesses, which was well above last year and managed to offset the lower profit registered from the general insurance, life insurance and pensions businesses.
The Group’s banking subsidiaries, NBS Bank Plc and NBS Forex Bureau recorded a profit before tax of MK3.7 billion for the six months ended 30th June 2020 and net profit after tax of MK2.8 billion.
The profit before tax is up from MK2.1 billion in the same period in 2019 that had a net profit after tax of MK1.4 billion.
NBS Bank also emerged as Malawi’s Best Bank for the second year running in the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2020, whose results were unveiled on July 15.
Last year, NBS Bank was voted 2019 Best Bank in Malawi by EuroMoney Awards for Excellence and 2019 Bank of the Year Malawi by the Banker Awards.
Hassam said coming out of this global COVID-19 storm with such good performance shows that the Group is well focused to serve its clients and shareholders better.
“This shows that the company is resilient,” Hassam said. “We are that unique because we have very passionate staff who are proud of giving their best services to the clients.
“Thus gives the clients have all the confidence to continue doing business with the Group.”
He said another unique part of the Group is that they always respond to the needs of the clients and over the years they have introduced new products that were asked for.
Just recently, NICO General launched Yafewa Third-Party insurance cover, which provides coverage for private motor vehicle owners at an affordable premium.
“This product s a response to the financial pressures being experienced by customers as a result of COVID-19 and their economic factors,” Hassam said.
“We are cautiously optimistic and remain hopeful that the future will be brighter and deliver best results by the end of the year despite the challenging global and local operating environment.”
NICO Group, the first company to be listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange, has a rich history spanning over 50 years of contributing to national development.
It also has firm footprints in Tanzania, Mozambique, Uganda and Zambia and Hassam said the idea to invest outside the country was to diversify in several economies so that when one falters, the other picks up.
For instance, the profit for the past six months of 2020, profitability for the general insurance business was K102.13 million, down from K822.12 million in 2019 — representing a decrease of 88%.
The 2020 half-year financials indicates that the profitability was affected by an increase in claims for both businesses in Malawi and Zambia and foreign exchange losses on US dollar claims and expenses in Zambia subsidiary.
“The Group’s success in the financial services industry has enabled investments in other areas that are critical to development such as hospitality, health and infrastructure development industries.
“As such, NICO Group has been instrumental in creating business and employment opportunities outside of the financial services sector,” says the financials.
On corporate social responsibility, NICO Group responded to calls towards the fight of COVID-19 when it donated 20 hospital beds, 20 mattresses, 20 oxygen units and 20 bedside trolleys worth K22 million to boost the services that was being provided at Kameza COVID-19 isolation centre in Blantyre.
This was done in May as soon as Malawi were registering COVID-19 cases and and this week NICO Life and NICO Pensions donated personal protective equipment (PPEs) worth K6m to University of Malawi (UNIMA) as the constituent colleges prepare for resumption of physical academic classes.
The PPEs included 2,000 N95 masks; 2,000 general masks and 81 face shields and two weeks prior NICO Life and Nico Pensions also donated K6 million College of Medicine to acquire lap tops for 30 needy of its undergraduate students, who had been facing challenges to access lessons in the wake of closure to the tertiary institution.
The group also has a programme running for five years at K6 million each in which it provides academic materials for deserving tertiary students.