Financial services group Nico Holdings Limited has reported a 4.2 percent profit increase to K2.9 billion (about $17.3m) in the year ended December 2011 from K2.8 billion (about $170m) the previous year.
The Malawi Stock Exchange (MSE)-listed group said, in the audited financial results released yesterday, gross revenue went up 22 percent to K28.4 billion despite showing the group incurred high operating and management expenses.
Nico Holdings has footprints in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda and the recently opened subsidiary in Mozambique.
Locally, the groupâ€™s subsidiaries are the MSE-listed NBS Bank Limited, Nico Life Insurance Company Limited, Nico Technologies Limited and Nico General Insurance Company Limited.
In the statement jointly signed by chairperson George Jaffu and managing director Felix Mlusu, the group said it achieved a 10 percent premium growth, but was not satisfied with the performance mainly in the insurance business because of high claims in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In life insurance and pension business, the group achieved a 57 percent revenue growth and assured that product diversification will continue to be a major focus area.
“We were well positioned in 2011 and were able to take advantage of opportunities that arose from the new Malawi Pensions Act which continue to be available in 2012,” read the statement in part.
NBS Bank revenues grew by 15 percent to K4 billion (about $24m) from K3.5 billion (about $20m), but its performance has been adversely affected by the scarcity of foreign currency on the market.
Going forward, the group said the uncertainty surrounding availability of forex will remain a major challenge to their business.
“Competition across all our business lines is expected to intensify in all our markets. However, notwithstanding these factors, we are confident that in 2012, we will continue our growth trend,” said the statement.
The groupâ€™s board has since proposed a final dividend of K250.3 million (about $1.5m) or 24 tambala per share up from K166.9 million (about $1m) or 16 tambala per share. This is means that the final dividend for the year will be K417.2 million (about $2.4m) or 40 tambala per share.
On MSE, Nico Holdings, whose assets went up to K99.6 billion (about $596m) from K75.7 billion (about $453m), was trading at K12 per share on Wednesday.