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HomeFeatured NewsBertal, as happy as a clam at Attijari.

Bertal, as happy as a clam at Attijari.

The financial communication presented on Wednesday, November 25 by Attijari Bank was like no other, since it coincided with the 5th anniversary of the complete privatization of the bank, as stated emphatically by the Chairman of the Board Moncef Chaffar. Almost nothing new in this communication, which was under the form of a press conference, except that all is well in the bank which CEO Hassan Bertal can now say that “2010 will be the final year of non-dividend distribution”.

The man was happy when he drew serenely the balance sheet of the bank which some believed it would not recover from the massive underfunding of which it had suffered a few years ago. Five years later, classified assets fell from 508.4 to 308.4 and represented only 8.7%, and Bertal even corrects saying “they are classified, not dead,” coverage rates climbed from 25 to 67% and could even finish the current  year at 70% with a risk cost approaching zero (0.54% after 8.59% in 2006), the GNP which was only 81.5 MTD rose in September to 124 MTD and the net income lifted from the bottom of the shaft as it was in 2006 (-176.4 MDT) to 43.6 MTD to complete most likely, as Bertal proudly announces, at 57 MTD. It must be said that this banker has done well in Tunisia, he who came as number 2 to deal with international subsidiaries and who now heads a bank that faces more than a challenge and fundamentally that of raising the bank faster and especially not tarnishing the image of a group, Attijari Wafa, whose external success push him to succeed in Tunisia, a country where it is the first Maghreb bank to gain a foothold.

As happy as a clam, he can now, after achieving and even exceeding his business plan, showcase his results and speak of an updated business plan that is better than the former one.

Proudly and taking this, rightly, as a token of confidence from his customers, he follows with his pointer the ascending curves of customers’ deposits who rose from 1731 MTD in 2006 to 3198 MTD in September this year and can even announce that they will, by the end of the year, the double of 2006. The bank has not, in fact, stopped opening branches. They were 93 in 2005 and they now number 164, not counting the 5 others who will come by the end of 2010.

Speaking of the prospects of his bank, Bertal notes with pleasure, in front of stock market intermediaries, and relying on graphs, that they are “comfortable and exceed expectations.” He thus expected to achieve a GDP of 163 MTD this year and has already announced 166 MTD and from 2011 to 2014 (after updating) he puts forward even 240 MTD. He announced a 55-MTD net income this year, he announces 57 MTD in 2011, the year of distribution of the first profit of the bank, the net income will increase only 1 MTD, but is expected to soar to 62 in 2012 and 65 in 2014.

For Hassan Bertal, lean years and those years where some of his employees almost regret the old logo of the “Banque du Sud,” are already behind. The man is riding the success of his bank, boosted by the general economic recovery in the country of which he said “we feel it very significantly in our business” and not without having a dig at those who believed Attijari’s shares at the Tunis Stock Exchange were not high enough, underlining “I would say that Attijari’s shares are okay.”

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