Investec First-Half Profit Climbs 21% as Funds Increase

JOHANNESBURG Capital Markets in Africa) – Investec Plc, which owns a lender and money manager in South Africa and the U.K., said fiscal first-half profit rose 21 percent as funds under management increased, equity markets rose and the banking business increased lending.

Net income climbed to 252.4 million pounds ($332 million) in the six months ended Sept. 30 from 208.6 million pounds a year earlier, the London- and Johannesburg-based lender said in a statement on Thursday. The dividend increased to 10.5 pence from 10 pence a year ago.

Investec, which also has operations in Australia, has started a life-insurance unit and is focused on attracting low-risk clients while remaining cautious on lending to counter the slowdown in the South African economy. The company makes most of its operating profit in South Africa, where it’s possible the country’s local-currency debt ratings will be cut to junk before the end of the year amid political wrangling and numerous allegations of government corruption.

“Our geographical and operational diversity supports a strong recurring income base and earnings which will help us to weather an uncertain world,” Investec’s Chief Executive Officer Stephen Koseff said in the statement.

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