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09.06.2005 Business & Finance

Epack Fund has future prospects


Accra, Accra 9, GNA - The Databank Group Limited on Thursday said the six per cent loss in value of its Epack Investment Fund due to bearish performances on the Stock Exchange was a short term phenomenon, which should not scare investors. This is against 11 per cent loss in value by the Ghana Stock Exchange, Dr Ken Ofori-Atta, Chairman of the Databank Limited, announced at the sixth annual general meeting of the Epack Fund for the year ended December 2004. He said: "Better growth prospects are likely to be registered in the third quarter of this year" because the Epack Fund was currently being repositioned to make higher returns in the future. "The Company is adopting aggressive measures such as sale of some of its shares in the market and with the new Initial Public Offers (IPO) into the market, there are better growth prospects."

Dr Ofori-Atta said the loss in value of the fund as compared to the performance of the GSE indicated above, was due to the Company's geographic diversification, which brought in an important additional benefit.

Currently the Databank has 59 per cent of equities in Ghana and 41 per cent in Nigeria, South Africa, Botswana, Mauritius and Kenya. He said the year 2004 was a heady one for the fund as bull market came to a head and shareholders increased from 8,000 to 29,000 and the fund size increased from 75 billion cedis in 2003 to 325 billion cedis in 2004.

Actual inflows increased from 41 billion in 2003 to an astounding 234 billion cedis in 2004. The Epack returned a respectable 61 per cent in 2004, once again leading all other mutual funds in the country. Dr Ofori-Atta said, even though, they were challenged with the avalanche of speculators seeking overnight wealth due to the impressive gains fund members received in 2004, they were also overwhelmed about the new breed who were rushing out of the fund because of the dull performance. He implored such long-term investors not to be discouraged because the market was currently in "period of correction."

The Databank Chairman said Epack's exposure to the African Stock market sets it apart from all other Ghanaian mutual funds, which were locked into the high valuations and ill-liquidity of the Ghanaian market.

Underpinning the strong performance of the African markets, Dr Ofori-Atta mentioned relatively low inflation in several countries supported by exchange stability, which fed into low interest rates. Shareholders voted to retain three members of the Board of Directors - Dr Ken Ofori-Atta, as Chairman, Mr Keli Gadzekpo, Vice Chairman and Ms Adelaide Ahwireng, a Director.