Thursday, May 21, 2009

Reading the Tea Leaves at Stanchart

The CEO of Standard Chartered Kenya explains in the annual report that their strategy is aligned to that of the UK parent group, and that the (Kenyan) bank has focused on chosen markets, does business with customers they know well and products they fully understand - adding that, so far, the standard chartered group one of the few international banks that has weathered the global crisis.

I’m not sure that makes sense to shareholders since if the (UK) parent also drives the same strategy here in Kenya, being conservative has not been as kind to the bottom line

Bank assets through the years
2005: Barclays Kenya 105 billion, KCB 74, Stanchart 72, Equity 11
2006: Barclays 118 billion, KCB 87, Stanchart 81, equity 20b
2007: Barclays 158 billion KCB 112 Stanchart 91 equity 53 billion
2008: KCB 174 billion, Barclays 168, Stanchart 99, equity 77

The conservative bank has seen its peers that have aggressively expanded, also grow at much faster rates. 4 years ago, Stanchart was almost equal in assets with KCB and today KCB is almost twice as large. Stanchart also maintained the No.2 profit figure behind Barclays each year, but falling further back, until in 2008 both KCB and Equity have passed its pre-tax profit position.

Outlook for the bank

- Change in strategy – should they have gone retail? They have Diva accounts (for ladies) and X account (for yuppies), mortgage, and corporate finance where they have cut some big deals

- New Chairman: There are on-going board changes, both executive & non executive. Chairman David Njoroge (board member since 1996, and chairman since 2006) and director J. Mugo (of federation of Kenya employers) will both retire at the AGM this month

- In 2008, they were the only big Kenyan bank to record a drop in income and profit. |Their loans went up 10% to 43 billion, and deposits were up 4% to 77 billion; also income was up, but costs went up 13% to 5 billion owing to infrastructure, technology, and staff costs. but only added two branches in year). The CEO says they have set aside 3.5 billion for new headquarters, acquire/refurbish branches (likely to be for high net worth clients), new core banking system, electronic banking new staff – all part of the largest group investment in Kenya.

-Their 2008 annual report is one of the biggest I have seen at 105 pages. The chairman's statement takes 6 pages (3 English, 3 Swahili), CEO statement 8 (4/4) , (8 pages on community, environmental & development) - which includes mentions of their being the lead financial arranger for TEAMS sub –cable and Kengen energy expansion), one page on HR (mentions 48% of employees are women, have policies for extended maternity, non-discrimination), One page on tackling financial crime (they trained 300 staff on fraud & also trained 60 Kenya anti-corruption commission (KACC) staff on financial crime risk) - and finally 53 pages of financial statements and notes

- They spent 64 million on corporate social responsibility (CSR). The annual Nairobi international marathon (sponsored by Stanchart) raised 12.5 million in 2008 up from 9.4 million in 07 - and the funds channeled to nine eye hospitals around the country

- Their statement on corporate governance has a policy barring insider trading of the company shares

- Loans to the manufacturing went up from 5 to 12 billion and real estate at 4 billion, transport & communications at 7 billion, and wholesale/retail trade at 10 billion were their main loan categories

- This month shareholders will amend article of the company to allow financial statements be sent by fax, e-mail or be published on their own website/Nairobi stock exchange (site) while notices may be simply advertised in daily newspapers along with abridged financial statements as long as they include an e-mail or postal address from where shareholder can request & obtain full accounts. Shareholders will also vote to allow electronic payment of dividends


Louis said...

my instincts are to invest and save in conservative banks, and borrow from aggressive ones.

coldtusker said...

I did not find SCBK's annual report on their website...

Muki Garang said...

SCBK has embarked on schemes to reach out to low end clientele...So maybe it hasn't weathered the global crisis perse


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