Stanbic Bank's parent lender ready to writeoff $81m of its bond losses
Kwamina Asomaning, MD, Stanbic Bank Ghana

Stanbic Bank's parent lender ready to writeoff $81m of its bond losses

The parent bank of Stanbic Bank Ghana Limited, the Standard Bank, has set aside $81 million to cover potential losses that the subsidiary may suffer from the recently concluded domestic debt restructuring programme (DDEP).

Global newswire, Bloomberg reported that Africa’s biggest lender by assets was also ready to re-capitalise its Ghanaian unit in addition to making the provisions to cover more than half of its holdings in the nation’s debt. 

Banks in Ghana are staring at losses after President Nana Akufo-Addo’s government restructured ¢83 billion($6.8 billion) of local debt as part of a move to finalize a $3 billion bailout from the International Monetary Fund.

Standard Bank on Thursday joined FirstRand Ltd. in accounting for the impairment. Ghana has an estimated ¢576 billion of public debt.  

Standard Bank said it had set aside 1.5 billion rand ($81 million) to cover potential losses arising from the West African nation’s loan-restructuring program. The bank said its total holdings of both domestic and onshore dollar-denominated bonds is about 2.6 billion rand. 

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Standard Bank, Sim Tshabalala said “We believe that the pain that we have taken in Ghana is exquisite. The numbers are very large, but we have a portfolio, and the portfolio is calculated to do that. Notwithstanding the impact of Ghana, our Africa regions business performed very well.”

According to Mr. Tshabalala, the government of Ghana has been “textbook” in their approach to the restructuring, extracting the appropriate bargain from all stakeholders. 

“They’ve been very tough in the negotiation process, as you can expect, because they have a public policy role to play.

The government has extracted what they consider to be the appropriate bargain, which while appropriate from a policymaker and a government point of view, it’s been painful for holders of that debt,” the CEO said.

Standard Bank’s shares, which have advanced 7.3 per cent this year, were up as much as 1.6 per cent before paring gains to 0.6 per cent by 3:47 p.m. in Johannesburg.

FirstRand said last week it impaired 496 million rand to cover potential losses. Nedbank Group Ltd., which has an indirect exposure to Ghana through its 20 per cent holding in Ecobank Transnational Inc., estimated its exposure to the country’s sovereign debt at 175 million rand.

Despite the challenges, Standard Bank said it remains committed to Ghana. It plans to leverage its “fortress balance-sheet” to drive market share and capitalise on growth opportunities when they arise, it said. 

Record Performance

Standard Bank’s headline earnings surged 37 per cent to a record 34.25 billion rand for the year ending in December 2022, beating forecasts. 

Green loans stood at 54 billion rand and the book is expected to grow to as much as 300 billion rand by 2026, Corporate & Investment Banking unit CEO Kenny Fihla said in a separate investor briefing.

Standard Bank declared a final dividend of 6.91 rand per share, a payout ratio of 60 per cent.

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