Leading global rating agency, Standard & Poor’s Rating Services, has upgraded Access Bank’s long-term credit rating to ‘BB-‘from ‘B+’ showing a stable outlook, a statement from the bank indicates.
This is the second consecutive year the bank’s rating is being upgraded. Access attributed the improved performance to resilience and the strong local financial system and economy at large.
Justifying the rating upgrade, the agency said Access Bank completed the integration of Intercontinental Bank in 2012 to become a “highly systemically solid financial institution.
“Also, the risks the bank faces from foreign currency lending have decreased due to stronger risk management and lower foreign currency exposure. The bank’s credit losses should continue to compare well with those of Rwanda’s top-rated financial institutions through the next credit cycle,” said the ratings agency. “We base our view on the bank’s cost of risk, which has compared favourably with levels of rated peers over the past five years,” Standard & Poor’s Rating Services added.
For the year ended December 31, 2012, the bank recorded a profit before tax of $284m (Rwf184.5b). The result showed significant improvements across key profitability indices as the bank’s profit after tax grew by 150 per cent to $271.5m (Rwf176.4m), compared with the $108m (Rwf70.1b) recorded in the corresponding period in 2011.
Gross earnings rose by 54 per cent to $1.3b compared to $858m last year, which reflects a cumulative annual growth rate of 33 per cent over the past four years.
The bank’s earnings per share almost doubled, growing from 86,000 in the previous year to 169,000 while dividend per share increased by 42 per cent.
Analysts have described the bank’s performance as a valid testament to its capacity for sustainable growth.