Diamond’s Atlas Mara’s Profit Drops 44% on Currency Impact

  • Net income $4 million compared with $7.1 million a year ago
  • Expenses rose 19 percent, total income increased 15 percent

Bob Diamond.

Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Atlas Mara Ltd., which was co-founded by former Barclays Plc Chief Executive Officer Bob Diamond, said third-quarter earnings dropped 44 percent because of falling currencies.

Net income for the period through September was $4 million compared with $7.1 million a year earlier, the company, incorporated in the British Virgin Islands and traded in London, said in a statement on Tuesday. Expenses rose 19 percent because of acquisitions, while total income increased 15 percent.

Atlas Mara, which invests in African banks, has lost more than 73 percent of its value since an initial public offering in December 2013. It started a cost-cutting exercise earlier this year as expenses engulfed income and threatened its ability to grow by acquisition. With operations in seven African countries, Atlas Mara needs five to seven years to build its business on the continent, Diamond said in an interview in September.

The bank reported a $5.2 million adverse currency impact, while non-performing loans as a percentage of the loan book were 15 percent.

“Although uncertainty around the economic environment, exchange rates and monetary policies in our markets make near term forecasts difficult, we expect the improving operational momentum” to continue, Atlas Mara said in the statement. Deposits rose 32 percent on a constant currency basis and loans extended during the period increased 23 percent, while costs excluding acquisitions increased 6.5 percent, the company said.

The stock fell 0.9 percent to $2.85 as of 8:27 a.m. in London, the lowest on record, giving the company a market value of $199 million.

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