Announcements

GCR upgrades Steward Bank Limited’s (prev. TN Bank Ltd) rating to BBB-(ZW); outlook Stable

Johannesburg, 11 Dec 2013 — Global Credit Ratings has upgraded Steward Bank Limited’s long term national scale issuer rating to BBB-(ZW), with the outlook accorded as Stable. Further, Global Credit Ratings has accorded an initial short term national scale issuer rating of A3(ZW) to Steward Bank Limited, with the outlook accorded as Stable. The rating(s) are valid until 12/2014.

RATING RATIONALE

Global Credit Ratings has accorded the above credit rating(s) on Steward Bank Limited (prev. TN Bank Ltd) based on the following key criteria:

Steward Bank Limited (“Steward Bank” or “the bank”), formerly known as TN Bank Limited (“TN Bank”), was acquired and rebranded by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Limited (“Econet”), Zimbabwe’s largest mobile operator, following a cash and share swap deal that saw Econet acquire 100% ownership of the bank during 1QF13. Parallel to the rebranding exercise, the bank ushered in a new and experienced board and senior management team, and plans to leverage from the technology platform presented by the mobile operator. The ratings are underpinned by the strong financial and technical support offered by the bank’s parent company. Econet is listed on the Zimbabwean Stock Exchange (“ZSE”), with equity capital of US$492.9m and assets amounting to over US$1bn as at February 2013.

Financial flexibility is supported by demonstrated parental support, with the bank already exceeding the half year (1HF13), minimum capital threshold of US$50m (placing it amongst the country’s top five banks by capitalisation). However, losses incurred in the period under review have absorbed some of the fresh equity.

Increased stress on the bank’s asset quality in F12, led to the gross non-performing loans (“NPLs”) ratio rising to 14.6% from 3.8% in the prior year, breaching the best practice limit of 5% and just going above the industry average of 13.8%. This upturn came as a result of the 3.8x increased exposure to the manufacturing sector, which has seen a record number of company closures as well as significant legacy loans extended under TN Bank’s furniture financing product model. In response the bank curtailed lending and has focused on bad debt recovery in 2013.

Financial performance remains weak, with the bank still addressing its cost structure and loan quality. That said, the bank’s high cost ratio of 115.9%, which indicates low operating efficiency, deteriorated by a further 4.7x at 30 September 2013, owing to subdued income generation activity (as the bank curtailed lending).

The bank’s liquid assets base was up 6x at end-F13, but remained below the statutory cap. That said, however, liquidity constraints were systemic, due to depositor security concerns and the absence of a lender-of-last resort. Nonetheless, going forward the bank expects to yield funding from the unbanked informal sector under its new EcoCash Save platform.

Future developments that could lead to a rating upgrade include a significant improvement in the earnings profile, prudent lending leading to an improvement in asset quality, and sustained positive growth prospects within the domestic economy. On the other hand, negative rating triggers are premised on additional losses which will impinge capital, any further asset quality stress, and a lag in economic recovery.

NATIONAL SCALE RATINGS HISTORY
Initial rating (Sep/2005)
Long term: BB-(ZW); Short term: B(ZW)
Rating Watch: Yes
Last rating (Oct/2012)
Long term: BB+(ZW)
Outlook: Stable
ANALYTICAL CONTACTS
Primary Analyst Seocondary Analyst
Dirk Greeff Kuzivakwashe Murigo
Sector Head: Financial Institution Ratings Junior Analyst
+27 11 784 1771 +27 11 784 1771
dgreeff@globalratings.net murigo@globalratings.net
Committee Chairperson
Marc Chadwick
Regional Sector Head: Insurance
+27 11 784 1771
chadwick@globalratings.net

APPLICABLE METHODOLOGIES AND RELATED RESEARCH

GCR’s Global Master Criteria for Rating Banks and Other Financial Institutions

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/RATING-SCALES-DEFINITIONS. 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; c.) such rating was an independent evaluation of the risks and merits of the rated entity, security or financial instrument.

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

The credit rating/s has been disclosed to Steward Bank Limited with no contestation of the rating.

The information received from Steward Bank Limited and other reliable third parties to accord the credit rating included the February 2013 audited annual financial statements (plus three years of comparative numbers), latest internal and/or external report to management, full year detailed budgeted financial statements for 2013, unaudited year to date management accounts for 30 September 2013, as well as its corporate governance and enterprise risk framework.

The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the rated client, and therefore, GCR has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.

ALL GCR CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS, TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS, TERMS OF USE AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK:HTTP://GLOBALRATINGS.NET/UNDERSTANDINGRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING SCALES AND DEFINITIONS ARE AVAILABLE ON GCR’S PUBLIC WEB SITE AT WWW.GLOBALRATINGS.NET/RATINGSINFORMATION. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA, AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. GCR’S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE UNDERSTANDING RATINGS SECTION OF THIS SITE.

CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED AND RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS PUBLISHED BY GCR, ARE GCR’S OPINIONS, AS AT THE DATE OF ISSUE OR PUBLICATION THEREOF, OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES. GCR DEFINES CREDIT RISK AS THE RISK THAT AN ENTITY MAY NOT MEET ITS CONTRACTUAL AND/OR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS THEY BECOME DUE. CREDIT RATINGS DO NOT ADDRESS ANY OTHER RISK, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: FRAUD, MARKET LIQUIDITY RISK, MARKET VALUE RISK, OR PRICE VOLATILITY. CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S OPINIONS INCLUDED IN GCR’S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT STATEMENTS OF CURRENT OR HISTORICAL FACT. CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S PUBLICATIONS DO NOT CONSTITUTE OR PROVIDE INVESTMENT OR FINANCIAL ADVICE, AND CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT AND DO NOT PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PURCHASE, SELL OR HOLD PARTICULAR SECURITIES. NEITHER GCR’S CREDIT RATINGS, NOR ITS PUBLICATIONS, COMMENT ON THE SUITABILITY OF AN INVESTMENT FOR ANY PARTICULAR INVESTOR. GCR ISSUES ITS CREDIT RATINGS AND PUBLISHES GCR’S PUBLICATIONS WITH THE EXPECTATION AND UNDERSTANDING THAT EACH INVESTOR WILL MAKE ITS OWN STUDY AND EVALUATION OF EACH SECURITY THAT IS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR PURCHASE, HOLDING OR SALE.

Copyright © 2013 Global Credit Rating Co (Pty) Ltd. INFORMATION PUBLISHED BY GCR MAY NOT BE COPIED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED OR DISCLOSED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY FORM OR MANNER OR BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER, BY ANY PERSON WITHOUT GCR’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT. Credit ratings are solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer of the instrument in respect of which the rating is issued, and GCR is compensated for the provision of these ratings. Information sources used to prepare the ratings are set out in each credit rating report and/or rating notification and include the following: parties involved in the ratings and public information. All information used to prepare the ratings is obtained by GCR from sources reasonably believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Although GCR will at all times use its best efforts and practices to ensure that the information it relies on is accurate at the time, GCR does not provide any warranty in respect of, nor is it otherwise responsible for, the accurateness of such information.GCR adopts all reasonable measures to ensure that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and that such information is obtained from sources that GCR, acting reasonably, considers to be reliable, including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, GCR cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process. Under no circumstances shall GCR have any liability to any person or entity for (a) any loss or damage suffered by such person or entity caused by, resulting from, or relating to, any error made by GCR, whether negligently (including gross negligence) or otherwise, or other circumstance or contingency outside the control of GCR or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents in connection with the procurement, collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, communication, publication or delivery of any such information, or (b) any direct, indirect, special, consequential, compensatory or incidental damages whatsoever (including without limitation, lost profits) suffered by such person or entity, as a result of the use of or inability to use any such information. The ratings, financial reporting analysis, projections, and other observations, if any, constituting part of the information contained in each credit rating report and/or rating notification are, and must be construed solely as, statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or hold any securities. Each user of the information contained in each credit rating report and/or rating notification must make its own study and evaluation of each security it may consider purchasing, holding or selling. NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, COMPLETENESS, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF ANY SUCH RATING OR OTHER OPINION OR INFORMATION IS GIVEN OR MADE BY GCR IN ANY FORM OR MANNER WHATSOEVER.
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ALL GCR CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS, TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS, TERMS OF USE AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK:HTTP://GCRRATINGS.COM. IN ADDITION, RATING SCALES AND DEFINITIONS ARE AVAILABLE ON GCR’S PUBLIC WEB SITE AT WWW.GCRRATINGS.COM/RATING_INFORMATION. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA, AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. GCR's CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE.

CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED AND RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS PUBLISHED BY GCR, ARE GCR’S OPINIONS, AS AT THE DATE OF ISSUE OR PUBLICATION THEREOF, OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES. GCR DEFINES CREDIT RISK AS THE RISK THAT AN ENTITY MAY NOT MEET ITS CONTRACTUAL AND/OR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS THEY BECOME DUE. CREDIT RATINGS DO NOT ADDRESS ANY OTHER RISK, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: FRAUD, MARKET LIQUIDITY RISK, MARKET VALUE RISK, OR PRICE VOLATILITY. CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S OPINIONS INCLUDED IN GCR’S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT STATEMENTS OF CURRENT OR HISTORICAL FACT. CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S PUBLICATIONS DO NOT CONSTITUTE OR PROVIDE INVESTMENT OR FINANCIAL ADVICE, AND CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT AND DO NOT PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PURCHASE, SELL OR HOLD PARTICULAR SECURITIES. NEITHER GCR’S CREDIT RATINGS, NOR ITS PUBLICATIONS, COMMENT ON THE SUITABILITY OF AN INVESTMENT FOR ANY PARTICULAR INVESTOR. GCR ISSUES ITS CREDIT RATINGS AND PUBLISHES GCR’S PUBLICATIONS WITH THE EXPECTATION AND UNDERSTANDING THAT EACH INVESTOR WILL MAKE ITS OWN STUDY AND EVALUATION OF EACH SECURITY THAT IS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR PURCHASE, HOLDING OR SALE.

Copyright © 2021 GCR INFORMATION PUBLISHED BY GCR MAY NOT BE COPIED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED OR DISCLOSED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY FORM OR MANNER OR BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER, BY ANY PERSON WITHOUT GCR’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT. Credit ratings are solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer of the instrument in respect of which the rating is issued, and GCR is compensated for the provision of these ratings. Information sources used to prepare the ratings are set out in each credit rating report and/or rating notification and include the following: parties involved in the ratings and public information. All information used to prepare the ratings is obtained by GCR from sources reasonably believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Although GCR will at all times use its best efforts and practices to ensure that the information it relies on is accurate at the time, GCR does not provide any warranty in respect of, nor is it otherwise responsible for, the accurateness of such information.GCR adopts all reasonable measures to ensure that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and that such information is obtained from sources that GCR, acting reasonably, considers to be reliable, including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, GCR cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process. Under no circumstances shall GCR have any liability to any person or entity for (a) any loss or damage suffered by such person or entity caused by, resulting from, or relating to, any error made by GCR, whether negligently (including gross negligence) or otherwise, or other circumstance or contingency outside the control of GCR or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents in connection with the procurement, collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, communication, publication or delivery of any such information, or (b) any direct, indirect, special, consequential, compensatory or incidental damages whatsoever (including without limitation, lost profits) suffered by such person or entity, as a result of the use of or inability to use any such information. The ratings, financial reporting analysis, projections, and other observations, if any, constituting part of the information contained in each credit rating report and/or rating notification are, and must be construed solely as, statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or hold any securities. Each user of the information contained in each credit rating report and/or rating notification must make its own study and evaluation of each security it may consider purchasing, holding or selling. NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, COMPLETENESS, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF ANY SUCH RATING OR OTHER OPINION OR INFORMATION IS GIVEN OR MADE BY GCR IN ANY FORM OR MANNER WHATSOEVER.