Economy Former Barclays chief’s Atlas Mara group reports $2 million first-quarter loss

Former Barclays chief’s Atlas Mara group reports $2 million first-quarter loss

Barclays ex-boss Bob Diamond
Barclays ex-boss Bob Diamond

Atlas Mara (ATMA.L), the African investment vehicle of ex-Barclays boss Bob Diamond, on Thursday reported a $2 million (1.3 million pounds) loss for the first quarter on Thursday, blaming weaker African currencies and a more challenging economic backdrop.

The company said it still aims for its full-year results for 2016 to exceed last year’s $11.3 million reported profit despite the difficult market environment.

Atlas Mara said last month that it had held talks with investors about bidding for Barclays’ (BARC.L) African business as it pursues its strategy to build a financial institution across sub-Saharan Africa.

While its West Africa and East Africa businesses pulled in profits of $6.9 million and $0.7 million respectively in the first three months of this year, the Southern Africa business lost $6.3 million.

Weaker currencies cost the business $1.1 million, it said.

“We have clear cost-reduction plans and revenue initiatives to ensure that the group is positioned to tackle current headwinds,” Atlas Mara’s Chief Executive John Vitalo said.

The company had warned on April 26 that it expected to report a loss for the first quarter of 2016, compared with a $9 million profit a year ago.

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