Standard Bank in Africa

ZA Confidential was at today’s annual results presentation by Standard Bank for the year to December.  Headline Earnings were up 15%;  Return on Equity has improved slightly.

Now Standard Bank has pulled out of many offshore markets to concentrate on Africa.  But today’s numbers showed that it is still making a loss in the Rest of Africa.  Headline loss rose from R209m in 2012 to a R361 million loss.  The main reason, we were told, was tax…

CEO Sim Tshabalala, suggested that despite losses in Africa, revenues are “stellar” and over time the business will become more profitable.  Standard Bank is still investing in this region, and is “well positioned for organic growth.”

He also said that Standard Bank’s key Chinese shareholder and partner ICBC is going to be transformative.  It will give access to more revenues, and will help the South Africans to play in Sino-Africa business.

Standard Bank says the digital revolution is changing the way in which consumers and businesses interact.  A truly digital bank requires a new engine and IT capabilities.  There will be new digital channels and products to support the demands of its customers and clients. Therefore it is investing in IT to renew its core banking systems. Smart mobile devices will become the medium for most crucial customer interaction. 

The presentation was well-attended and did not seem to drag.  Far livelier than the one earlier this week by FirstRand.   However, FirstRand won the hospitality race, by handing out much nicer pens, and arranging some red wine for your thirsty correspondent.  It is also doing the best of the Big 4 in the view of most of the analysts we canvassed at both presentations, with Nedbank in second place, Standard Bank in third, and Absa/Barclays Africa a sad fourth among the major banks.

Tweet of the day:  Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow): What do you call a fake noodle? An impasta #ClassicJokeWednesday

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