Standard Bank 1H17 Profit Rises 14% -- Update

By Alexandra Wexler Features Dow Jones Newswires

South Africa's Standard Bank Group Ltd. (SBK.JO), Africa's biggest lender by assets, reported a higher half-year profit on Thursday, citing robust earnings in markets on the broader continent, including Angola, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria and Uganda.

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The Johannesburg-based bank said net profit attributable to owners of the parent climbed 14% to 12.34 billion South African rand in the six months to June 30 from the same period in 2016. Headline earnings--the bank's preferred profit measure, which strips out certain exceptional and one-off items--rose 12% to ZAR12.11 billion in the first half of 2017. The bank said this was despite headwinds from currencies, adverse macroeconomic developments, policy uncertainty and rating agency downgrades in South Africa.

The bank increased its dividend for the first half of 2017 by 18% to ZAR4 a share.

Standard Bank shares on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are up 8% year-to-date. The bank continues to position itself to take advantage of growth in the continent's growing consumer class, which is increasingly looking for more sophisticated financial services as savings grow.

Standard Bank said its Africa regions franchise contributed 29% to the group's headline earnings in the first half of 2017. Electronic banking is also spreading quickly where the bank considers itself well positioned.

Headline earnings from personal and business banking grew 11% to ZAR6.1 billion, while corporate and investment banking headline earnings climbed 10% to ZAR5.3 billion.

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Gross loans and advances to customers grew 1% to ZAR954.18 billion, while credit impairments fell 11% in the January to June period to ZAR5.16 billion, the bank said. Non-interest revenue climbed 3.6% to ZAR28.77 billion.

Write to Alexandra Wexler at alexandra.wexler@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 17, 2017 03:27 ET (07:27 GMT)