Credit-Line Cash Seen Boosting Profit at UT Bank Ghana

UT Bank Ltd., a lender in Ghana that’s risen 29 percent this year, expects to as much as double profit after receiving $100 million in credit lines from banks.

The bank plans to open more branches and double the number of clients to 300,000 by the end of this year, Chief Executive Officer Prince Kofi Amoabeng said in an interview in Accra, the capital, on March 15. UT Bank currently has trade lines from lenders including the International Finance Corp., African Export-Import Bank, Ghana International Bank Plc, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and BHF-Bank AG, and BMCE of Morocco, John Ackom general manager of wholesale banking and investor relations, said by phone.

“Everybody wants to give us credit lines,” Amoabeng said. “We will take advantage of the significant funds to do more medium-term loans at a lower cost to clients.”

The World Bank’s IFC invested $15 million in UT Bank last year as Ghanaian lenders boosted capital for central bank requirements and to meet demand from oil-driven growth in West Africa’s second-biggest economy. The IFC currently holds a 20 percent stake in UT Bank and its investment has helped attract the credit, according to Amoabeng.

“With the profitability I will say that if you double your equity and shareholders’ funds at least you should more than double your profit otherwise you haven’t done anything,” he said. “So we’re looking at doubling profits over 2012.”

Ghanaian growth is forecast to reach 8 percent this year from a provisional 7.1 percent in 2012, according to the Finance Ministry. That’s faster than the International Monetary Fund’s 5.8 percent forecast for 2013. Ghana started exports of oil in December 2010.

UT Bank plans to train Ghanaian entrepreneurs in services related to the growing energy industry and “back them with the necessary funding so they get a good share of the sector,” Amoabeng said. The company will also expand banking services in areas including urban markets with mobile branches, he said.

UT Bank has a corresponding bank account with Standard Chartered Plc, Ackom said.

Net income last year climbed 59 percent to 20.9 million cedis, the bank said on March 14. The stock was unchanged at 49 pesewas. UT Bank has underperformed the Ghana Stock Exchange’s Financial Stocks Index, which is up 48 percent this year.

(Corrects bank names and financial details of trade lines in first two paragraphs of story published on March 21.)
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