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HFC to recapitalise to compete effectively in the banking industry

By GNA

Accra, April 26, GNA – HFC Bank is expected to raise its stated capital to more than GH¢100 million by July 2012 to enable the financial institution compete strongly and favourably in the “challenging” banking industry.

Mr Asare Akuffo, Managing Director of HFC Bank who disclosed this to journalists at the end of HFC's 21st Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Accra on Thursday, said the funds would enable the financial institution service small and medium scale enterprises to grow the bank's loan portfolio, participate in syndications leading to financing of oil and gas and to roll out more projects in infrastructure and real estate.

HFC's ambition follows a decision taken by a majority vote of the shareholders during the AGM that authorised directors of the bank to allot and issue by private placement a price up to GH¢50 million in ordinary shares to an investor or investors to be determined.

This would include 10 largest shareholders of the company to enable it meet the Bank of Ghana's minimum capital requirement.

The shareholders passed a resolution in accordance with Section 61 of the Companies Act, 1963, (Act 179) to make market purchases of the company's ordinary shares up to a maximum of five per cent of its issued share capital and operate a share deals account for that purpose.

Mr Akuffo said the rationale behind the decision was to protect shareholders against share price plunge and to manage those who enrolled on the shareholders platform.

Nana Agyei Duku, Board Chairman of HFC, described the performance of the bank during 2011 as “good” adding that net interest income increased to GH¢39.74 million from GH¢32.83 million, with profit after tax inching up by 25.6 per cent from that of 2010 to GH¢10.85 million in 2011.

He said total assets increased by 19.4 per cent to GH¢435.30 million while continuous expansion of HFC's branch network resulted in increased customer deposits by 47.12 per cent “to GH¢230.30 million from GH¢156.53 million the last financial year.”

Speaking on outlook for 2012, Nana Duku, who is also the Nkosuohene of Asante Mampong Traditional Area and Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Union Assurance Company Limited, conceded that there exist upside risks that had resulted from the contagion effects of the Eurozone debt crisis, domestic fiscal pressures and uncertain volatility in the foreign exchange market.

He said the factors could have potential adverse impact on the domestic economy in general and particularly reduce trade finance businesses to domestic banks, diminish portfolio inflows, worsen terms of trade due to reduced global demand for primary commodities as well as reduce remittances and donor flows.

Nana Duku said “Besides 2012 being an election year with its usual fiscal challenges, other areas of concern include arrears clearance, including those relating to the migration to the Single Spine Salary Structure and the recently announced increase in the minimum wage”.

He predicted that these factors could impose additional demand pressure and heighten inflationary pressures.

Nana Duku expressed the hope that the government's pledge of increased spending on infrastructure coupled with increased revenues from oil exports and augmented domestic resource mobilisation would impact positively on the banking sector in the coming year.

The AGM saw the outdooring of the company's new logo.

The logo, which has now adopted the lower case letters, is to refresh the HFC brand and place the customer at the centre of the bank's operations.

The letters are closed up to signify “the power in togetherness” with the royal blue colour and a lighter hue of blue incorporated in the logo to add more vibrancy and freshness to HFC's corporate identity.

The logo maintained the Eban symbol which represents security, to make customers and shareholders feel secured and confident doing business with the bank.

The bank's payoff line, “Banking the way you like it” has changed to “Possible Together” to reassure customers that they could work closely with the financial entity to achieve their aspirations and dreams.

GNA