Against a backdrop of prolonged uncertainty due to the escalating US-China trade war, prevailing geopolitical conflicts in the Middle-East, an impending no-deal Brexit, and economic performance being uneven across the African continent, the global economy experienced a tepid growth during the financial year 2018-2019. Mauritius, being vulnerable to these economic uncertainties, has remained resilient and was able to maintain a steady growth, mainly driven by its financial and construction sectors. 2019 being an election year for the country, there is a risk that private investment will stagnate while government has been keeping a prudent monetary policy in place.
With these challenging circumstances, the Bank succeeded in better serving its existing customers, embrace innovation in its processes, while gaining momentum in its efforts to drive sustainability as a key feature of its growth strategy.
The financial year 2018-2019 witnessed AfrAsia Bank performing very well with a record 113% increase in the Group’s Net Profit after Tax, reaching MUR 1.6bn in 2019, while registering a return on average equity of 26%.
The Bank’s client centric business model has continued to draw on the synergy engendered by focusing on its key growth segments, investing in the effectiveness of its processes, having fully engaged people and culture, as well as pursuing its digital transformation and sustainability agenda. These have led to the Group’s actualisation of a remarkable growth of 16% with Total Assets worth MUR 141.4bn at end of June 2019.
During this financial year, dividends of MUR 1.65 per share were paid to its ordinary shareholders. The Bank paid MUR 147.1m in dividends to holders of Class A shares in line with the programme memorandum for this category of shares.
The Bank's Capital Adequacy Ratio stood at a healthy 15.85% as at end of June 2019,2.97% above the regulatory limit of 12.88%, while being considered among the Domestic Systemically lmportant Banks by the central bank.
Strategically positioned between Africa and Asia, Mauritius is well poised and experienced to connect these two continents and the rest of the world through its modern lnternational Financial Centre (lFC). Efforts will need to be deployed to better understand Africa with its numerous complexities and vulnerabilities. We are confident that Mauritius will stand up to the innumerable challenges awaiting it.
The need to be flexible and nimble in adapting to a diversity of economic, social, regulatory and technological environments will be key differentiators if the jurisdiction wants to be considered as relevant by international clients. With its repertoire of expertise and global network, AfrAsia Bank is leveraging on the strengths of the Mauritius IFC to better promote it as an IFC of choice and the springboard to Africa. As Mauritius currently ranks second in the fastest growing wealth market worldwide, this is an opportunity to tap into.
The Board and Management Team remain committed to supporting the Group in its efforts to sustain growth. Our aim is to leverage the Group's lines of business and strategic partners to generate further synergies while targeting new markets in Africa, Asia, and beyond. Embracing an innovative mind set and staying relevant to our customers will be essentialto achieve success.
While ensuring continuity in our endeavours to meet and exceed the expectations of our shareholders, clients, employees and the communities in which we operate, we shall continue to reinforce the AfrAsia Brand in what is a highly competitive landscape. Two annual torch bearing events, the Sustainability Summit and the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open, will continue to strengthen our brand equity.
The AfrAsia Group abides by the highest level of corporate governance by having an effective board composed of the finest blend of qualified and experienced independent and non-independent members.
On behalf of the Board, I wish to thank all our stakeholders, especially the AfrAsian family for their dedication in shaping the AfrAsia brand and bringing the Group to new heights.
JEAN JUPPIN DE FONDEAUMIERE CHAIRPERSON