The Absa Group continues to invest in technology. In a conference call early on Friday 10 February 2012, following the release of the group’s results, David Hodnett, group financial director, said that technology costs for the year ended December 31 2011 were up 7%.
This compared to cost growth for the group as a whole which came in at 6%.
Total IT technology spend, Hodnett said, was R5.3bn up from last year’s R5bn.
“We continue to invest in the technology areas that we have identified. You can even see that IT staff costs have gone up 10%,” he said.
Rumours abound about possible retrenchments in Absa’s IT division with media reports indicating that about 1 000 employees in the computer section received letters stating that the group was restructuring.
Maria Ramos, Absa Group CEO, said that it has been consistent with its message in the last year that it does not have a mass retrenchment process going on.
“We are focused on efficiencies. This does mean that sometimes if people can’t be relocated in the business there will be some exits. Most of the exits so far have been through natural attrition,” she said.
Louis von Zeuner, deputy CEO of the group, said that it continues to see “huge benefits” in its engagement with Barclays on the technology level, leveraging Barclays’ technology footprint on the continent and globally.
Headline earnings for the group were up 21% to R9.72bn and Absa declared a final dividend of 392c per share, bringing the total dividend for the year to 684c per share.