The Nation’s leading financial services group, Botswana Insurance Holding Limited (BIHL) Group, continues in its upward trajectory. This is fostered by The Group’s twin strategies - growth and profitability - to propel an increase in shareholder value.  This has been illustrated by the Group’s performance for the full year ended 31st December 2018.

Said Chairperson of the Board of Directors of The BIHL Group, Batsho Dambe-Groth, “We are pleased to present a set of robust financial results for the period, demonstrating the result of a well-entrenched strategy in effect. In the current local and indeed global climate we find ourselves operating in, we are pleased to have persevered and delivered.”

The results were set against the context of the persistence of a difficult trading environment which contributed to bearish capital market sentiments and domestic equities in decline during the year. This was offset somewhat by local bonds rallying. Business activity continued to be hampered with high unemployment, low consumer discretionary income and restrictive policies in 2018. As the year ended, the local environment displayed renewed investor sentiment beginning to translate into positive capital market inflows with local equities posting positive returns after five consecutive quarterly declines.

Commented the BIHL Group CEO, Catherine Lesetedi, “At the BIHL Group, increasing value for our shareholders is a crucial target we aim to meet every period. We remain committed to working towards ensuring positive returns for our loyal and valued shareholders. The performance of the Group is a demonstration of this unwavering commitment, and our just published financial performance is yet another step in that direction.”

Embedded value increased by 3% to P4.42 billion from the P4.31 billion reported as at 31 December 2017 year end. The embedded value increase was driven by the growth of the Value in Force for the life business supported by significant growth in operating profit after tax. “The embedded value was positively affected by good operating earnings, especially the life business, and improved market value for the non-life operations,” the results read. The embedded value allows for P457.4 million dividends paid during the period.

The Group registered profits after tax of P371 million, a 12% increase over the same period last year. Operating profit increased by 12% to P375 million, and all business lines contributed positively to this performance. Core earnings increased by 11% to P383 million, while profit attributable to equity holders increased by 6% to P370 million.  Net premium income increased by 1% to P2.35 billion. However, value of new business decreased by only 1% to P147 million. Overall, Group expenses were well maintained and aligned with the continued strategy to manage expenses.

The Group retains its positive positioning in terms of capital management and solvency.  The Board has confidence in the Group’s ability to maintain dividends at this level while ensuring that its capital position remains solid and aligned with future capital requirements whilst sustaining healthy levels of Return on Group Equity Value.

This was taken into consideration by the Board when resolving a final dividend to award a final dividend for the year of 67 thebe per share (gross of tax) and a special dividend of 16 thebe per share (gross of tax).

Concluded Dambe-Groth, “After a pleasing set of financial results, our focus continues to be on driving growth and profitability into the future, for we have a firm and clear purpose as a financial services group. We are committed to making a true sustainable impact, indeed beyond our bottom line. For us, it is not only about the heritage we continue to build upon. Rather, it is an act of looking ahead, at proactively working with thousands of Batswana, indeed thousands of Africans, to build their future legacies, and this is something we are wholly committed to.”