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UBA bank’s Johnson Agoreyo leads bank into third straight year of profit, sealing an end to an 8-year profit dry spell



The Ugandan subsidiary of Nigeria’s United Bank for Africa on April 08th announced a UGX4.9 billion profit (USD1.3 million) profit, confirming that the lender is firmly out of its eight-year loss-making dry spell.

In results published in New Vision, a leading local daily, the bank announced that profit had climbed 390% from UGX1 billion in 2017 to UGX4.9 billion in 2018. This is the third year of straight profitability, following a UGX2.6 billion profit in 2016.

The good 2018 performance was powered by a 43% rise in income from UGX33.3 billion in 2017 to UGX47.6 billion in 2018. The income growth was largely driven by significant government lending. During the period under review, the bank’s interest earnings on government paper grew by 45% from UGX 12.1 billion to UGX17.5 billion.

UBA Uganda Managing Director/CEO, Johnson Agoreyo speaks to media at Golden Tulip Hotel, during the announcement of the bank’s new strategic positioning. Agoreyo said the bank looks to leverage is solid group strength to finance big ticket projects in key sectors, as well as introduce “industry-changing technological innovations” that increase customer convenience.

Customer lending grew by 20%, from UGX27billion to UGX33 billion, while customer deposits nearly doubled from UGX127.8 billion to UGX244.7 billion- a 91.5% growth.

Total bank assets grew by 46.7% from UGX216.2 billion to UGX317.1 billion.

Johnson Agoreyo the turnaround CEO

UBA Bank’s three years of straight profit firmly put the bank out of its 8 years of back-to-back losses that today, leave the bank with UGX48.7 billion in accumulated losses.

Much of the profitability has been driven by the arrival, in June 2016 of Johnson Agoreyo, the bank’s 6th Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer.

Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Commissioner General, Doris Akol (left) UBA Uganda CEO Johnson Agoreyo (centre) and Victor Ndlovu, the VISA card Country Manager for Kenya,Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan & Somalia at the launch of the tax payment solution in March 2017.

Agoreyo whose over 25 financial services experience spans across key African banking brands, namely: Zenith Bank, Stanbic IBTC and First Bank of Nigeria from where he joined UBA in 2014. His last assignment before coming to Uganda was Group General Manager (Lagos Island, Central & Upper West).

Over the last 2 years, Agoreyo whose core expertise is in corporate and investment banking, has led a series of technologically driven innovations- many of them industry firsts.

For example in March 2017, UBA Bank and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) launched a VISA and MasterCard powered tax payment solution that lets anyone with any of VISA or MasterCard branded cards pay tax using UBA Bank platforms or online regardless of which bank they bank with.

In September 2018, UBA together with MTN Uganda and MasterCard launched the MTN MoMocard, a debit card-like payment solution that allows MTN mobile money customers make quicker, safer and more convenient online payments globally, eliminating the need to have bank accounts before making online purchases.   

UBA Uganda Managing Director/CEO Johnson Agoreyo speaks to the press during the formal launch of the UBA and Mastercard powered MTN MomoCard in September 2018.

MTN has the lion’s share of Uganda mobile payments sub-sector that as of June 2018 pushed UGX 19.3 trillion (USD5.2 billion) according to Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). MTN Group reported that MTN Uganda in 2019 earned ZAR 2.3 billion (UGX608 billion) in mobile payments related products.

UBA in 2018 won the Digital Impact Awards Africa (DIAA) Social Banking award for its groundbreaking innovation -LEO Chat banking, the industry’s first banking chatbot that supports customers perform ordinary banking transactions such as account opening, funds transfer and airtime purchases while providing access to customer service support on social media sites such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

All the above innovations have partly boosted UBA’s fees and commission business line which forms nearly 30% in the last 2 years of the bank’s earnings- UGX11.1 billion in 2017 and UGX10.6 billion in 2018.

The innovations have not only boosted direct incomes, but have also endeared the bank to customers, impacting on other fundamentals such as customer deposits.

During Agoreyo’s 3 years at the bank, customer deposits have grown by 183.1% from UGX86.4 billion in 2016 to UGX244.6 billion in 2018. This translates into a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41.5%.

Lending has grown by 87.5% from UGX 17.6billion to UGX33billion (CAGR 23.3%).

This growth in the bank’s fundamentals, fuelled a 43% growth in income from UGX33.3 billion in 2016 to UGX47.6 billion in 2018 (CAGR 12.5%). Net Profit has grown by 88.5% from UGX2.6 billion to UGX4.9 billion. Assets have grown by 83.3% from UGX173 billion to UGX317 billion (CAGR 22.4%).



Dfcu Bank confirms fraud; declines to give details



Dfcu bank, has this evening confirmed that there was indeed fraud at the bank, but declined to divulge details of how much and who was involved, but said investigations were on going.

In a series of tweets, on their official twitter account (@dfcugroup), the bank said that “In May 2019, the Bank detected a case of fraud that was immediately reported to the police (CID HDQTRS GEF 604/2019) and investigations are ongoing.”

The bank which has been mum since the story was broken on Friday, went on to claim that the incident had “been grossly and maliciously misrepresented in an attempt to damage the reputation of the Bank, destabilise the banking sector and the economy in general,” but offered nor further detail on what had been misrepresented.

Several media houses that broke the story have reported that up to $2.6m was lost to hackers who breached the bank’s system, citing unnamed bank sources.

“The Bank takes these malicious reports seriously and reserves the right to take legal action as well as to refer the authors and disseminators to the relevant law enforcement authorities,” the bank threatened in one of the tweets.

The thread of tweets issued by dfcu Bank this evening

Dfcu Bank is one of the domestic systemically important banks (DSIBs) together with Stanbic Bank, Standard and Chartered Bank and fraud at the institution would be of national interest.

DSIB is a term used to describe banks whose business failures may widely impact the economy. These are deemed too big to fail because if their broad business networks across the economy.

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UBL board hails Mark Ocitti for resounding growth and innovation



Alvin Mbugua (right), the incoming UBL Managing Director, receives the traditional Bell from UBL Board Chairman , Japheth Katto (Centre) and outgoing MD, Mark Ocitti (left)

The Uganda Breweries Limited (UBL) Board of Directors, has hailed outgoing its Managing Director, Mark Ocitti for what they called: “great milestones, resounding business growth, capacity expansion, impactful community projects in education, sanitation and a spirited, empowered staff.”

Addressing a farewell press conference, on Thurday, July 11th attended by UBL’s senior and middle management as well as members of the media, UBL board Chairman Japheth Katto, said that Ocitti’s 3 years at the brewery have set up a great foundation to deliver future “great performances” thereby “returning significant value to our investors for years to come.”

 “In the last 3 years, the business has registered a year-on-year average growth rate of over 30% in volumes and over 6% in topline delivery, which has cemented our market leadership of over 54% of market share by value in Total Beverage Alcohol (TBA) in beer and spirits,” said an excited Katto.

“We have significantly grown our numeric distribution by over 25%, which has manifested in the distinctive visibility and increased availability of key brands like Bell, Pilsner, Tusker Lite and Guinness. This is reflected in the growth of the retail outlets handling our products by 28,000 outlets in 3 years thus growing the households we impact positively by over 80,000,” he added.

Although Kato did not delve into the specific details of UBL’s financial performance under Ocitti, CEO East Africa Magazine, understands that Ocitti inherited a gross turnover book of UGX377.8 billion and a profit of UGX34.6 billion for the year, ended March 2016.

Alvin Mbugua and Japheth Katto at a cocktail hosted for business captains and UBL stakeholder to welcome Mbugua and say farewell to Mark Ocitti

By end of March 2017, sales revenue grew by 6.5% to UGX402.5bn and in the year ending March 2018, sales revenue jumped by a further 6% to UGX426.7bn- a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4% across the 3 years.      

During this time, Ocitti who is a sales and commercial expert by background, narrowed down the gap between UBL and Nile Breweries, their arch-rivals from UGX189bn in 2016 to UGX126.4 billion- UBL’s gross turnover for 2016 was UGX377.8bn compared to NBL’s 567.7bn while in 2017 UBL sold UGX402.5bn worth of drinks compared to NBL’s 528.9bn.

Ocitti’s exciting, challenging and fulfilling 3 years

Mr. Ocitti is heading to Tanzania as the Managing Director for Serengeti Breweries Limited, a member of the East African Breweries Group and as such, part of Diageo, effective August 1, 2019.  Ocitti who possesses over 20 years of business leadership in Oil & Gas, telecoms and beverages sectors, is the second Ugandan to lead UBL after Baker Magunda is also the second Ugandan Managing Director within the Diageo family working on the African continent, outside their home market. Ocitti also joins 14 other Ugandans that Uganda Breweries has exported to Diageo’s affiliate companies in Kenya and the United Kingdom.

“On behalf of the Board and our investors, I thank you, Mark for your hard work and delivering on your commitment to build and grow the business you were given charge of. Your stewardship has sustained our leadership in innovation, delivered market share command and significantly improved the opportunity for our consumers to access their favorite brands. We challenge you to carry the winning attitude you infused in the staff and fly the Ugandan flag high in Tanzania and wherever else you will go after that,” he said.

Part of Uganda Breweries’ beer and spirits product portfolio. Katto said that Ocitti’s 3 years in leadership had seen UBL register a year-on-year average growth rate of over 30% in volumes and over 6% in topline delivery, which cemented the brewer’s market leadership of over 54% of market share by value in Total Beverage Alcohol (TBA) in beer and spirits.

Mark will be succeeded by Alvin M. Mbugua

A seasoned commercial professional, Mbugua joined East African Breweries Limited (EABL) in May 2013 as the Group Finance Controller before transitioning to Uganda as Finance and Strategy Director in October 2015. Prior to his new appointment, Mbugua was Head of Sales of the biggest Sales division in Kenya Breweries Limited (KBL), a role that he has held for the last 17 months.

Mbugua was also recognized as 2017 Chief Finance Officer of the Year and took home the Strategy Execution Award at the Annual CFO Awards organized by the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Deloitte Uganda.

On his part, Ocitti said he was “really honored to have presided over Uganda Breweries at a time when it has achieved the kind of growth that has been spelled out by my Chairman,” he said adding that the three years had been “exciting, challenging and fulfilling all at the same time.”

He said the three years, had “defined the legacy of Uganda Breweries for years to come” as UBL had “received the most overwhelming stamp of approval from our consumers as they sampled one or more each of our wide category of alcoholic beverages.  

Mbugua and Katto exchange performance pledge documents.

“I am really honored to have presided over Uganda Breweries at a time when it has achieved the kind of growth that has been spelled out by my Chairman,” he said adding that the three years had been “exciting, challenging and fulfilling all at the same time.”

Truly, truly excited to be back

Welcoming Mbugua, Katto said that he was confident in his abilities to lead the company forward as Uganda’s most trusted, respected and celebrated company.

“I have no doubt that the leader we are getting in Mr. Mbugua will enable us to continue to deliver unprecedented sustainable growth whilst continuing to drive a winning culture for our staff so we can export more Ugandan talent to take over more corners of this continent,” said Kato.

Alvin Mbugua is a seasoned business leader. In 2017, while working as Finance & Strategy Director at UBL, he was crowned CFO of the Year at the ACCA and Deloitte organised awards. He also took home the Strategy Execution award.

Mbugua, who said he was “truly, truly excited to be back” said his return was a in “a big way a continuation of the building blocks” laid before when he was Finance & Strategy Director and that he returns as a “much more experienced and fine leader” following the commercial role he played in Nairobi, after Uganda.  

“I truly feel humbled to be taking the stewardship of the 4th largest tax payer in Uganda. It is no light task, I must bear witness to that. Chairman, with the confidence that comes from the board and yourself, I really want to lay out and commit, on behalf of myself and my team, that we will continue the great work and achievements left by Mark Ocitti and the other MDS who left before,” he said.

“UBL has been around now for over 70 years. We are the generation that is taking UBL into the 2020s and see UBL become 80 years old; it is no mean feat and we do not take it lightly. We understand what our forefathers have done before, we appreciate what Mark and his team have done up to this point and ours is to continue the heritage; that great story and hopefully, pass over a company to the next generation that is far greater than what we found it. That is the only gift that we can give back to Uganda, the young people coming up, and to ourselves, as we serve in leadership at this time,” he said.

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Hima Cement former MD Speaks out on why he left his job and why Hima made UGX32 bn losses



Hima Cement, in 2018 made a loss of UGX32.5 billion, down from a profit of UGX71.7 billion in 2017, according to the company’s results, this reporter has had access to.

According to the 2018 audited company accounts, the Lafarge-Holcim subsidiary in Uganda also suffered a 9% drop in sales, from UGX537.4 billion in 2017 to UGX489.5 billion.

This is despite having opened a new USD40 million plant in Tororo, in May 2018, with a promise to increase production from 0.9 million tonnes to 1.7 million tonnes annually.

In June 2019, Nicholas George the Hima Cement CEO suddenly left the company, under unexplained circumstances, just after 16 months, to take up another job outside Lafarge-Holcim in Cambodia.

CEO East Africa Magazine has not yet established a direct link between the CEO’s exit and the poor business performance.

(Left-Right): Mr. Jean-Michel Pons Hima Cement’s incoming CEO, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, the Trade & Industry Minister, Nicholas George, the former Hima MD and Ms. Barbara Mulwana, the new board chairman. There has been a shakeup in the business’ top management and board, to rid the business of past mismanagement mistakes that have take a toll on the business’ 2018 performance.

However, a press statement released by the company, at a function to bid farewell to the outgoing CEO and welcome Mr. Jean-Michel Pons (42), the new CEO, Barbara Mulwana the new Hima Cement board chairman said that the outgoing CEO, had helped grow sales as well as Hima Cement’s profits by 15%.

Michel Pons, joins the company from LafargeHolcim Moldova. Pons, who has been with LafargeHolcim Group since 2011, has worked in Russia, Serbia, Algeria, France and more recently Moldova. He brings a wealth of knowledge of the construction industry from his previous deployments.  

This reporter, in an email, to Ms. Mulwana asked about the differences between the figures we had had access to and the said 15% growth in profits, but she did not answer back. Attempts by this reporter to also get a statement from the company’s spokesperson about the company’s performance, were futile as the promised response never came through for over 4 days.

According to results available to us, Hima Cement enjoyed good sales growth between 2014 and 2016 in which sales grew from UGX475.2 billion in 2014 to UGX550.1 billion in 2015 and UGX564.1 billion in 2016. Similarly net profits in the same period grew from UGX47.2 billion in 2014, to UGX63 billion in 2015, peaking at UGX72.5 billion at the end of 2016.

However in 2017, sales reduced to UGX537.4 billion and further to UGX489.5 billion in 2018. Net profits also reduced to UGX71.7 billion in 2017, before a tailspin tumble to UGX32.5 billion loss in 2018.

Nicolas George, the former MD responds; blames losses on past mismanagement

In response to our LinkedIn inquiry, Nicolas George clarified that he had left Hima Cement following completion of his assignment to “clean up” the business and that he had received an irresistible offer from his current employers.

“I came to Hima to clean the company following few years of mismanagement. You can easily see it if you read the annual report of Bamburi cement,’ he said, without going into more details.

Hima Cement’s Tororo plant, launched in May 2018 as part of Hima’s expansion. Hima is looking to emerging opportunities in government infrastructure projects to grow its business in Uganda.

“The results were negative because we had to write off a lot of things, clean the bad debts that were hidden,” he further explained, adding: “The job was done, the management team completely changed and the company is doing good in H1 2019, except for the loss of Rwanda market due to border closure.”

“My job was completed with success. Feel free to check with Hima management if you want.  I left because I had completed the clean-up I was hired for and because I had been with the group for almost 15 years and I got an opportunity I could not refuse,” he said.

Both Dr. John P. N. Simba and Seddiq Hassani the Bamburi Group Chairman and Group Managing Director respectively, in the 2018 Annual Report, blamed Hima’s bad performance on rising costs of operations; namely fuel, coal and petcoke costs following global market price increases as well as slow growth in the cement market and “higher levels of provisioning.”

A provision is an amount of cash set aside from the profits in the accounts of a business to cover a known liability or to account for depreciation of an asset. This lends a lot of Credence to Nicholas George’s earlier claims of past mismanagement and cover-ups that necessitated massive write-offs.

For example, Hima Cement recently had to return hundreds of acres of community land in Tororo, Eastern Uganda, that it said had been bought in ways that contravened Lafarge Group’s known principles and in the process lost several billions of shillings. This is after Nicholas George appeared before the Justice Bamugemereire land probe committee and pledged to return the land.

Leadership cleanup at Hima Cement

Nicolas George who has since taken up a new post as CEO at Chipmong Insee a Cambodian cement company in South East Asia, became Hima Cement CEO in February 2018 replacing Allan Ssemakula, who served in an acting capacity, between November 2017 and February 2018, following the sudden departure of then CEO Daniel Pettersson over what is now believed to be compliance issues.

Much of the bad performance happened during the time Hima Cement did not have a substantive CEO and Nicolas George’s time.

Hannington Karuhanga, then board chairman has quietly left the Hima Cement board and has been replaced by Barbara Mulwana. Semakula has also since left Hima Cement and is now Enterprise Director at Airtel Uganda.

Karuhanga is also Airtel Board Chairman. Losses largely blamed on the cost of provisioning for damages caused by past mismanagement, hidden bad debts and bad procurements

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