Bob Diamond's turnaround plan for Atlas Mara pays off with record half-year profits


Bob Diamond, former chief executive of Barclays, founded Atlas Mara in 2013 (Source: Getty)

African financial services business Atlas Mara, headed by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond, has announced its strongest half-year profits since its inception in 2013.

The group grabbed earnings in the second quarter of $11.5m, up from just $1.2m in the same period last year, as it delivered “cost efficiencies” through a restructuring and by reducing costs in the “Shared Services and Centre”.

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Atlas Mara believes it is on track to deliver $20m of savings in 2017.

“Despite ongoing economic challenges across our markets, in the first half of 2017 we have begun to demonstrate the potential earnings power that Atlas Mara can deliver,” said Bob Diamond, Atlas Mara's chairman.

“With this performance momentum, and the support shown by both our existing and new investors, we can accelerate delivery on our strategy.”

However, the London-listed group's share price sank following the news by 3.48 per cent.

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In recent months, Atlas has raised $200m by selling a minority stake to Canada's Fairfax Holdings. It said it would use this to increase its investment in Union Bank of Nigeria and to further expand its markets and treasury and fintech lines.

Founded by Diamond and Ashish Thakkar, Atlas aims to use technology to disrupt the banking industry across sub-Saharan Africa.

It has acquired significant or controlling stakes in banking operations in Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Rwanda and Nigeria.

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