South Africa’s Standard Bank posts flat 2014 earnings

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, reported a 1 percent rise in full-year profits on Thursday, roughly in line with expectations, thanks to increases in lending, fees and trading.

Stripping out its London-based division, in which Standard Bank is selling a controlling stake to China’s ICBC, headline earnings rose 20 percent. Standard Bank raised its dividend 12 percent to 598 cents per share.

The lender said headline earnings per share (EPS) came to 1,070 cents last year, up from 1,065 cents in 2013. Headline EPS, the benchmark profit measure in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items.

The bank had flagged that its headline earnings for the year would be somewhere in the range of a 2 percent fall to a 2 percent rise.

Net interest income, a measure of earnings from lending, rose 15 percent to 45.2 billion rand ($3.8 billion), while loan provisions fell 2 percent as bad debts across operations outside South Africa declined.

Non-interest income, which includes revenue from arranging deals and advisory services, climbed 14 percent to nearly 39 billion rand.

Standard Bank shares rose nearly 3 percent in early trade, outperforming a flat Top-40 index.

($1 = 11.8140 rand)

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