ANSA Merchant Bank Ltd performed admirably last year despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, chairman A Norman Sabga has said.

Mr. Sabga made the statement in the chairman’s report which accompanied AMBL’s audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2020.

“For the financial year ended December 31, 2020 AMBL, the parent company of our financial services group (including TATIL, TATIL Life and their respective subsidiaries) performed admirably, in spite of the significant challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr. Sabga stated.

“The Group’s consolidated Operating Income for 2020 declined resulting in a reduction in consolidated Proft Before Tax to $205 million (compared to the prior year’s $357 million), primarily due to unrealised non-cash market valuation declines in our investment portfolios,” he stated.

Mr. Sabga said during the year AMBL continued to accelerate investments in all areas of its operations, particularly information technology.

He said the group expects to see tangible improvements in customer service in the coming years, as a result of the implementation of those initiatives.

“I am pleased to announce that, following the close of the financial year, we completed the acquisition of the Bank of Baroda. I am quite encouraged by the new opportunities that this acquisition will bring to our financial services group,”  Mr. Sabga stated.

“We expect to enhance our insurance operations in Barbados upon completion of the integration of the Trident Insurance business, subject to final regulatory approvals,” he stated.

Mr. Sabga said given the improved business performance that AMBL has seen over the last two quarters of the 2020 financial year, the Directors have recommended a total dividend of 75 cents per share for the year ended December 31, 2020. This final dividend will be paid on May 21, 2021 to shareholders on the register as of May 7, 2021.

“I wish to thank our dedicated staff, loyal customers, and the communities in which we operate, who have all adapted to new ways of working, while maintaining the highest safety standards during the pandemic,” Sabga stated.

“I also thank our Board of Directors and our senior executives for their exceptional resilience and leadership over the past year,” he stated.