Announcements

GCR upgrades Agriculture Bank Zimbabwe Limited’s rating to BB-(ZW); Outlook Stable.

Johannesburg, 31 October 2017 — Global Credit Ratings has upgraded the long-term national scale rating assigned to Agriculture Bank of Zimbabwe Limited of BB-(ZW) and affirmed Agriculture Bank of Zimbabwe Limited’s short-term national scale rating of B(ZW) with the outlook accorded as Stable. The ratings are valid until October 2018.

SUMMARY RATING RATIONALE

Global Credit Ratings (“GCR”) has accorded the above credit ratings to Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited (“Agribank”, “the bank”) based on the following key criteria:

The ratings of Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited (“Agribank”, “the bank”) reflect improvements in profitability, asset quality, capitalisation and liquidity metrics while also taking note of the weak economic environment. The Government of Zimbabwe (100% shareholder) is likely to support given the strategic importance of the bank as its primary vehicle for channelling financial resources to the country’s agricultural sector. However, while the government is committed to support agriculture development, cognisance is taken of its constrained financial capacity.

The bank’s Tier 1 capital and total regulatory capital increased by 44.2% and 32.7% to USD51.1m and USD64.0m respectively in FY16, driven mainly by capital injections and organic growth. Consequently, the bank’s Tier 1 and total capital adequacy ratios increased to 28.9% (FY15: 20.5%) and 36.3% (FY15: 27.9 %) respectively.

Asset quality improved with the bank’s gross non-performing loan (“NPL”) ratio declining to 21.1% at FY16 (FY15: 27.7%) and further to 5.7% at 1H FY17, due to improved lending processes and collection efforts, as well as the sale of NPLs to the Zimbabwe Asset Management Company (“ZAMCO”). As a result, NPLs decreased by 86.5% to USD4.8m between FY15 and 1H FY17. Provisioning levels improved with specific provisions covering 95.4% of NPLs at 1H FY17 (FY15: 20.8%).

The bank returned to profitability following four years of consecutive losses. The bank posted a profit after tax of USD4.8m in FY16. This was attributable to an increase in operating income, as well as a decrease in operating expenses following a cost rationalisation exercise. Consequently, Agribank’s ROaE and ROaA improved to 12.4% (FY15: -23.7%) and 2.7 (FY15: -3.9%) respectively.

The bank grew its balance sheet by 18.8% to USD204m at FY16 (FY15: 52.1%), supported by increased funding. The bulk of credit risk is represented by loans and advances which accounted for 48.5% of total on-balance sheet assets at FY16 (FY15: 66.0%). Notably, the proportion of loans and advances has declined in recent periods, while investments in TBs has increased to account for 30.3% of the bank’s balance sheet at FY16 (FY15: 13.9%; FY14: 0.3%), reflecting reduced risk appetite.

The persistent foreign currency shortages in the economy continue to deter business growth. However, Agribank’s liquidity position improved following growth in capital/funding and an increase in the volume of liquid and trading assets held by the bank. As a result, the bank’s liquid asset base (assets with a maturity of less than 12 months) improved, with a liquid assets to total assets ratio of 5.6% at FY16, (FY15: 3.3%). However, the bank’s negative asset/liability mismatch (an industry structural feature) at FY16 heightens liquidity risk.

An upward movement in the bank’s ratings could arise from substantial and sustainable improvements in asset quality, solvency and profitability. An inability to arrest asset quality challenges, and/or a decline in capitalisation and profitability, or further adverse economic developments, could see the ratings come under pressure.

NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS HISTORY    
Initial rating (August 2006)    
Long-term: BBB-(ZW); Short-term: A3(ZW)    
Outlook: Negative    
     
Last rating (October 2016)    
Long-term: B+(ZW) ; Short-term: B(ZW)    
Outlook: Stable    

ANALYTICAL CONTACTS

Primary Analyst   Committee Chairperson
Vimbai Muhwati   Jennifer Mwerenga
Credit Analyst   Senior Credit Analyst
(011) 784-1771   (011) 784-1771
vimbaim@globalratings.net   jennifer@globalratings.net

Secondary Analyst

Victor Matsilele

Junior Credit Analyst

(011) 784-1771

victorm@globalratings.net

APPLICABLE METHODOLOGIES AND RELATED RESEARCH

Global Criteria for Rating Banks and Other Financial Institutions, updated March 2017

Agribank rating reports (2006-16)

RATING LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS

ALL GCR’S CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://GLOBALRATINGS.NET/UNDERSTANDING-RATINGS. IN ADDITION, GCR’S RATING SCALES AND DEFINITIONS ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD AT THE FOLLOWING LINK: HTTP://GLOBALRATINGS.NET/RATINGS-INFO. GCR’S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, PUBLICATION TERMS AND CONDITIONS AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE AT HTTP://GLOBALRATINGS.NET.

SALIENT FEATURES OF ACCORDED RATINGS

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

Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited participated in the rating process via face-to-face management meetings and other written correspondence. Furthermore, the quality of information received was considered adequate and has been independently verified where possible.

The credit ratings have been disclosed to Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited with no contestation of the ratings.

Information received from Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited and other reliable third parties to accord the credit ratings included:

  • Audited financial results as at 31 December 2016 (and three years of comparative numbers)
  • Unaudited interim results at 30 June 2017
  • Budgeted financial statements for 2017
  • Latest internal and/or external audit report to management
  • A breakdown of facilities available and related counterparties
  • Corporate governance and enterprise risk framework
  • Industry comparative data

The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe Limited, and therefore, GCR has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.

GLOSSARY OF TERMS/ACRONYMS USED IN THIS DOCUMENT AS PER GCR’S FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS SECTOR GLOSSARY

Asset A resource with economic value that a company owns or controls with the expectation that it will provide future benefit.
Asset Quality Refers primarily to the credit quality of a bank’s earning assets, the bulk of which comprises its loan portfolio, but will also include its investment portfolio as well as off balance sheet items. Quality in this context means the degree to which the loans that the bank has extended are performing (ie, being paid back in accordance with their terms) and the likelihood that they will continue to perform.
Audit Report A written opinion of an auditor (attesting to the financial statements’ fairness and compliance with generally accepted accounting principles).
Balance Sheet Also known as a 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.
Budget Financial plan that serves as an estimate of future cost, revenues or both.
Capital The sum of money that is invested to generate proceeds.
Capital Adequacy A measure of the adequacy of an entity’s capital resources in relation to its current liabilities and also in relation to the risks associated with its assets. An appropriate level of capital adequacy ensures that the entity has sufficient capital to support its activities and that its net worth is sufficient to absorb adverse changes in the value of its assets without becoming insolvent.
Corporate Governance Refers to the mechanisms, processes and relations by which corporations are controlled and directed, and is used to ensure the effectiveness, accountability and transparency of an entity to its stakeholders.
Cost Ratio The ratio of operating expenses to operating income. Used to measures a bank’s efficiency.
Credit Rating An opinion regarding the creditworthiness of an entity, a security or financial instrument, or an issuer of securities or financial instruments, using an established and defined ranking system of rating categories.
Credit Rating Agency An entity that provides credit rating services.
Credit Risk The possibility that a bond issuer or any other borrowers (including debtors/creditors) will default and fail to pay the principal and/or interest when due.
Facility The grant of availability of money at some future date in return for a fee.
Financial Institution An entity that focuses on dealing with financial transactions, such as investments, loans and deposits.
Financial Statements Presentation of financial data including balance sheets, income statements and statements of cash flow, or any supporting statement that is intended to communicate an entity’s financial position at a point in time.
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.
International Scale Rating LC International local currency (International LC) ratings measure the likelihood of repayment in the currency of the jurisdiction in which the issuer is domiciled. Therefore, the rating does not take into account the possibility that it will not be able to convert local currency into foreign currency or make transfers between sovereign jurisdictions.
Liquid Assets Assets, generally of a short term, that can be converted into cash.
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. 
Liquidity Risk The risk that a company may not be able to meet its financial obligations or other operational cash requirements due to an inability to timeously realise cash from its assets. Regarding securities, the risk that a financial instrument cannot be traded at its market price due to the size, structure or efficiency of the market.
Long-Term Not current; ordinarily more than one year.
Long-Term Rating Reflects an issuer’s ability to meet its financial obligations over the following three to five year period, including interest payments and debt redemptions. This encompasses an evaluation of the organisation’s current financial position, as well as how the position may change in the future with regard to meeting longer term financial obligations.
Maturity The length of time between the issue of a bond or other security and the date on which it becomes payable in full.
National Scale Rating Provides a relative measure of creditworthiness for rated entities only within the country concerned. Under this rating scale, a ‘AAA’ long term national scale rating will typically be assigned to the lowest relative risk within that country, which in most cases will be the sovereign state.
Past Due Any note or other time instrument of indebtedness that has not been paid on the due date.
Performing Loan A loan is said to be performing if the borrower is paying the interest on it on a timely basis.
Provision The amount set aside or deducted from operating income to cover expected or identified loan losses.
Regulatory Capital The total of primary, secondary and tertiary capital.
Risk The chance of future uncertainty (i.e. deviation from expected earnings or an expected outcome) that will have an impact on objectives.
Security An asset deposited or pledged as a guarantee of the fulfilment of an undertaking or the repayment of a loan, to be forfeited in case of default.
Shareholder An individual, entity or financial institution that holds shares or stock in an organisation or company.
Short-Term Current; ordinarily less than one year.
Short-Term Rating An opinion of an issuer’s ability to meet all financial obligations over the upcoming 12 month period, including interest payments and debt redemptions.
Tier 1 Capital Primary capital consists of issued ordinary share capital, hybrid debt capital, perpetual preference share capital, retained earnings and reserves. This amount is then reduced by the portion of capital that is allocated to trading activities and other regulatory deductions.

For a detailed glossary of terms please click here

GCR upgrades Agriculture Bank Zimbabwe Limited’s rating to BB-(ZW); Outlook Stable.

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