Announcements Financial Institutions Rating Alerts

GCR affirms Central Africa Building Society’s national scale long term issuer rating of A+(ZW), with an Evolving Outlook

Rating Action

Johannesburg, 21 August 2020 – GCR Ratings (“GCR”) has affirmed Central Africa Building Society’s national scale long term issuer and short term issuer ratings of A+(ZW) and A1(ZW) respectively, with an Evolving Outlook.

Rated Entity Rating class Rating scale Rating Outlook/Watch
Central Africa Building Society Long Term issuer National A+(ZW) Evolving Outlook
Short Term issuer National A1(ZW)

Rating Rationale

The national scale issuer ratings on Central Africa Building Society (“CABS”, “the Society”) reflect the Society’s sound market position relative to domestic commercial banks and solid franchise strength as the largest and oldest building Society in Zimbabwe. The ratings also take into account appropriate local currency liquidity, adequate though constrained capitalisation, offset by a relatively weaker risk position in comparison to domestic top tier banks. The outlook is reflective of the adverse operating conditions exacerbated by a hyperinflationary environment and unstable monetary policy resulting in a more volatile financial profile. The outlook also reflects the adverse unquantified ramifications of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic on the environment.

The business profile is a rating positive. The Society has a sound competitive position in comparison to rated peers reflected by demonstrated franchise strength as the largest and oldest building society in Zimbabwe and sizable market share in comparison domestic commercial banks. Furthermore, CABS benefits from its large distribution network. Revenue stability and creation is broadly in-line with banking sector peers, albeit with less concentration to market sensitive income. In the above consideration, GCR takes into account the high risk of value erosion of the monetary assets as a result of hyperinflation. Management and governance is neutral to the ratings.

Capitalisation is adequate supported by a high GCR leverage ratio, offset by relatively weaker earnings quality characterised by a higher than average cost to income ratio. The Society’s GCR leverage ratio was 18.1% at 31 December 2019 and is expected to deteriorate in the next 12 to 18 months. This reflects restrained internal capital generation due to the impact of hyperinflation on the net monetary asset balance sheet and sustained low performance of housing operations. Earnings quality is a moderate ratings negative reflected by a moderately high cost to income ratio at 31 December 2019 and 30 June 2020. Capitalisation may benefit from cost containment and growth in foreign currency (“FX”) income. Given the adverse operating conditions, reserving of stage 3 loans was deemed adequate.

The risk profile is a moderate ratings negative. The gross non-performing loan ratio of 1.5% at 30 June 2020 was higher than the top tier average of 0.5%. Furthermore, CABS had high single name concentrations in comparison to rated peers with the top 20 exposures contributing c.78% to total exposures. At 30 June 2020, c.47% of loans were FX resultantly, at the high rate of exchange rate depreciation and hyperinflation erosion on the local currency book, we expect concentration risk to increase. Initial assessments of the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic indicate that the Society will not be immune to the sector wide challenges which include credit extension and loan repayments. Though not significant, we expect some deterioration in asset quality and increased credit losses on account of the COVID-19 impact on consumers and some sectors, and the deterioration of the exchange rate on FX loans.

Funding and liquidity is a neutral ratings factor taking into account an average funding structure and appropriate local currency liquidity. CABS is exposed to the same structural funding as most commercial banks in Zimbabwe, namely customer deposits. The majority of deposits come from large corporates which typically are less behaviourally sticky than retail deposits. Therefore, the Society remains susceptible to external shocks, further exacerbated by the challenging operating environment and foreign currency shortages. However, CABS has appropriate liquidity mitigating structural funding risks. At 30 June 2020, GCR liquid asset coverage of customer deposits was adequate at over 60%.

The ratings benefit from support and integration of the Society with its ultimate parent, Old Mutual Zimbabwe Limited, although not a material asset or revenue contributor.

Outlook Statement

The outlook is evolving premised on the volatile operating environment, monetary policy, exacerbated by hyperinflation creating high likelihood of frequent change on the financial profiles of financial institutions operating therein. In this regard, GCR will increase monitoring and surveillance of rated peers.

Rating Triggers

National scale ratings reflect relativities to the local Zimbabwean peers only. Given the operating environment there is implied volatility in the ratings. A positive or negative ratings movement could follow a change in capitalisation, asset quality or liquidity.

Analytical Contacts

Primary analyst Vimbai Muhwati Financial Institutions Analyst
Johannesburg, ZA VimbaiM@GCRratings.com +27 11 784 1771
Committee chair Corné Els Senior Structured Finance & Securitisation Analyst
Johannesburg, ZA CorneE@GCRratings.com +27 11 784 1771

Related Criteria and Research

Criteria for the GCR Ratings Framework, May 2019
Criteria for Rating Financial Institutions, May 2019
GCR Ratings Scales, Symbols & Definitions, May 2019
GCR Country Risk Scores, May 2020
GCR Financial Institutions Sector Risk Score, August 2020
Jurisdictional Supplement for Criteria, July 2020

Ratings History

Central Africa Building Society

Rating class Review Rating scale Rating Outlook/Watch Date
Long Term issuer Initial National A+(ZW) Rating Watch October 2000
Short Term issuer Initial National A1(ZW) October 2000
Long Term issuer Last National A+(ZW) Stable Outlook September 2019
Short Term issuer Last National A1(ZW) September 2019

Risk Score Summary

Rating Components & Factors Risk Scores
Operating environment 1.00
Country risk score 0.00
Sector risk score 1.00
Business profile 1.50
Competitive position 1.50
Management and governance 0.00
Financial profile 1.50
Capital and Leverage 2.00
Risk (0.50)
Funding and Liquidity 0.00
Comparative profile 0.50
Group support 0.50
Government support 0.00
Peer analysis 0.00
Total Score 4.50

Glossary

Balance Sheet Also known as Statement of Financial Position. A statement of a company’s assets and liabilities provided for the benefit of shareholders and regulators. It gives a snapshot at a specific point in time of the assets the company holds and how they have been financed.
Capital The sum of money that is invested to generate proceeds.
Cash Funds that can be readily spent or used to meet current obligations.
Debt An obligation to repay a sum of money. More specifically, it is funds passed from a creditor to a debtor in exchange for interest and a commitment to repay the principal in full on a specified date or over a specified period.
Diversification Spreading risk by constructing a portfolio that contains different exposures whose returns are relatively uncorrelated. The term also refers to companies which move into markets or products that bear little relation to ones they already operate in.
Exposure Exposure is the amount of risk the holder of an asset or security is faced with as a consequence of holding the security or asset. For a company, its exposure may relate to a particular product class or customer grouping. Exposure may also arise from an overreliance on one source of funding. In insurance, it refers to an individual or company’s vulnerability to various risks
Income Money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments.
Interest Scheduled payments made to a creditor in return for the use of borrowed money. The size of the payments will be determined by the interest rate, the amount borrowed or principal and the duration of the loan.
Issuer The party indebted or the person making repayments for its borrowings.
Leverage With regard to corporate analysis, leverage (or gearing) refers to the extent to which a company is funded by debt.
Liquidity The speed at which assets can be converted to cash. It can also refer to the ability of a company to service its debt obligations due to the presence of liquid assets such as cash and its equivalents. Market liquidity refers to the ease with which a security can be bought or sold quickly and in large volumes without substantially affecting the market price.
Long Term Rating See GCR Rating Scales, Symbols and Definitions.
Margin A term whose meaning depends on the context. In the widest sense, it means the difference between two values.
Market An assessment of the property value, with the value being compared to similar properties in the area.
Maturity The length of time between the issue of a bond or other security and the date on which it becomes payable in full.
Rating Outlook See GCR Rating Scales, Symbols and Definitions.
Risk The chance of future uncertainty (i.e. deviation from expected earnings or an expected outcome) that will have an impact on objectives.
Short Term Rating See GCR Rating Scales, Symbols and Definitions.
Short Term Current; ordinarily less than one year.

SALIENT POINTS OF ACCORDED RATING

GCR affirms that a.) no part of the rating process was influenced by any other business activities of the credit rating agency; b.) the ratings were based solely on the merits of the rated entity, security or financial instrument being rated; and c.) such ratings were an independent evaluation of the risks and merits of the rated entity, security or financial instrument.

The credit ratings have been disclosed to Central Africa Building Society. The rating above was solicited by, or on behalf of, the rated entity, and therefore, GCR has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.

Central Africa Building Society participated in the rating process via video conference management meetings, and other written correspondence. Furthermore, the quality of information received was considered adequate and has been independently verified where possible.

The information received from Central Africa Building Society and other reliable third parties to accord the credit ratings included:

  • The audited financial results to 31 December 2019
  • Unaudited management accounts as at 30 June 2020
  • Breakdown of facilities
  • Banking sector information and Industry comparative data
  • Other related documents.
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