Capricorn Group ushers in new era

Diversified financial services group, Bank Windhoek Holdings, has officially changed its name and brand to Capricorn Investment Group.
The Namibian Stock Exchange listed entity, with interests in banking, insurance, wealth and asset management, officially changed its name at a stakeholder event held last week in Windhoek, after two years of investigating the simplification and refinement of its brand architecture.
Research conducted since 2014 concluded that the former brand architecture of the group was fragmented, misleading and not conducive to building brand equity across the group.
Speaking at the launch of the Capricorn Group brand, Managing Director, Thinus Prinsloo, said the listed entity wants to be the most trusted and inspiring connector of positive change in Namibia and beyond.
“As our identity and ethos is closely linked to the well-being of our country, we share the responsibility to bring positive change, thereby creating an environment of empowerment and prosperity,” Prinsloo, who became group MD in January, said.
“Capricorn Group will continue to achieve our goals responsibly and we believe that sustainability comes from a firm focus on not only profit, but also our people and the planet. We want to continue delivering relevant solutions, convenient products with a responsive network of people and channels that enables these opportunities to be created.”
At the same event, Capricorn Group also launched its first Integrated Annual Report for the period ended 30 June 2016.
The report contains valuable information for the group’s shareholders and other key stakeholders on not only the group’s solid financial performance and operational activities in the past financial year, but also its economic, social and environmental activities.
Prinsloo said in the report that the Capricorn Group has been privileged to experience a year with many highlights and achievements, which saw the group deliver solid results after recording a 20.2 percent jump in after tax profit to N$905 million.
This was the fifth consecutive year that the group had delivered profit growth in excess of 20 percent.
“I am particularly proud of how Capricorn Group continues to deliver on our commitment to shareholders to deliver long-term sustainable value in a responsible manner,” Prinsloo said.
“We do, however, expect the more challenging economic conditions to persist in the near term, but with our respected brands, good relationships, a prudent approach to credit and a strong capital adequacy position, we will remain focused on meeting the banking and financial services needs of Namibians.”
Chairman, Koos Brandt, also expressed his confidence in the group’s ability to continue to create value, despite many challenges in its operating environment.

He said Namibia has been fortunate to have weathered the economic storms better than most countries in the last couple of years, mainly due to strong performance from the construction and tourism sectors.
“Unfortunately economic and policy stability has been taken for granted and the lack of fiscal prudence is placing government finance under renewed pressures. This, coupled with continued socio-economic issues such as poverty and inequality, is posing a particular risk that government may seek to address long-term structural problems with unsustainable short-term solutions. These solutions usually have numerous unintended and undesired outcomes,” Brandt said.

He warned that Namibia’s average economic growth in the last couple of years is at risk as policy uncertainty regarding the Promotion of Investment Bill and the draft New Equitable Economic Empowerment (NEEF) Bill increases.
He said this may discourage both local and foreign investments.
“Further concerns are mounting with national debt increasing and foreign reserves shrinking to unacceptable levels. It is expected that the budget deficit this year will be much larger than the budgeted shortfall as government struggles to grow and collect from various revenue streams.”
Brandt, however, said some progress has been made towards fiscal consolidation as government has placed non-essential operational expenditures and non-productive capital outlays on hold.
“This will unfortunately affect economic growth negatively as government is such a key driver of economic growth in the country,” he added.
Capricorn Group expects Namibia’s economic growth to slow down to 3.2 percent this year while the IMF estimates a 2.5 percent economic growth rate.