April-May 2019

Coverstory: BAL KAN(CAN) DO IT

The Balkan banking sector is ripe for consolidation at all levels, but the region is facing tough reforms and deep demographic change that hinders the region’s growth. Optimism lies in the EU accession process, making the most of foreign direct investment and keeping its young skilled workers engaged at home.

In Profile: Ghana’s minister of finance Ken Ofori-Atta

Ghana’s minister of finance Ken Ofori-Atta has been praised widely by the international financial community for his steady stewardship of the economy, which is helping drive demand for the country’s Eurobonds and lowering its borrowing costs. Ofori-Atta tells Phil Thornton where he sees Ghana and Africa heading.

Europe Banking Awards 2018

Exuberantly delivering the Raiffeisen Bank International’s 2018 results, RBI’s CEO Johann Strobl said, “This is the best year in the history of the bank.” And, from this point the positive results flowed. Reporting a consolidated profit of €1.27bn, and highlighting both the bank’s conservative approach to its business and a brighter economic environment throughout the majority of the countries where it operates in CEE & CIS, Strobl emphasized that RBI is operating efficiently and that its subsidiary banks are performing well and profitably.
Much of the result can be attributed to the bank’s managing of its risks, and its current non-performing loans (NPL) ratio is down closer to a European wide average of 3.8% from a much higher 12% just a few years earlier. 

When winners lose

Building a winning team is more than just assembling good individual performances, it is about building and shaping an enduring and enabling culture. Successful organization need leaders who can react to change and have the psychological flexibility to move quickly and adapt. Julian Evans looks at the English rugby team’s on-field collapse against Scotland, and prescribes a possible cure.

Blistering start to year belies Turkey’s troubles

Turkish bond issuers burst into 2019 to print more than $10bn of debt in the first three months, but the party might already be over as the country has fallen into recession and analysts are growing increasingly concerned about foreign exchange reserves.

Appointment news | Swift

Financial messaging firm Swift has picked long term employee Javier Pérez-Tasso as its new chief executive officer, at a time of unprecedented change in the cross border payments industry.

Europe news

Telecoms company Vodafone stunned the markets in the first quarter with what looked to be the ultimate prize in corporate finance – a deal that at first glance seems to let the company raise significant debt without diminishing any of its existing credit or equity metrics. But while investors poured money into the deal, the ratings agencies kicked back. 

Middle East news

At a time when the Lebanese government is pushing for ambitious green reforms, the EBRD and Bank Audi have committed US$200mn in funding for private renewable energy projects. 

Africa news

A three year, US$300mn E&S transaction provides a financial incentive to improve environmental and social practices across the Ghanaian cocoa industry.