Standard Bank’s profit up 34%

Bloomberg – Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest lender by assets, said full-year profit climbed 34 percent after boosting net interest income and reducing its stake in its loss-making UK business.

Normalised net income climbed to R21.37 billion ($1.37 billion) from R15.93 billion a year earlier, the Johannesburg-based bank said in a statement on Thursday.

Earnings per share excluding one-time items increased 27 percent to R13.59, beating the R13.19 median estimate of 13 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The dividend rose 13 percent to R6.74.

The bank completed the sale of a 60 percent stake in its UK operations to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China last year, helping boost profit and also partially exited its London business which was making losses.

Read also: Racism is a risk: Standard Bank

Standard Bank is focused on tapping growth across Africa and has operations in 20 countries on the continent, some of which are expanding faster than those in South Africa where the economy is slowing.

“The year ahead is likely to provide a demanding operating environment in which consumers and businesses will have to adapt to higher interest rates and the full effect of currency weakness,” the bank said in the statement.

“Our medium-term return on equity target of between 15 percent and 18 percent remains intact. The group’s return on equity performance will, however, be affected by factors such as economic growth in South Africa and the rest of Africa, and the retention of a South African investment grade sovereign credit rating.”