Nedbank Group Ltd., the South African lender controlled by Old Mutual Plc, said full-year profit gained after the retail unit boosted customer numbers and the bank controlled costs.
Net income rose to 10.72 billion rand ($688 million), from 9.8 billion rand in 2014, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement on Wednesday. Earnings per share excluding one-time items climbed to 22.42 rand, slightly ahead of the 22.39 rand median estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The shares climbed as much as 2.1 percent and rose 1.2 percent to 188.10 rand as of 9:17 a.m. in Johannesburg, the highest since Feb. 26. The seven-member banks index climbed 1.6 percent.
Nedbank is seeking growth in the rest of the continent as its home market in South Africa struggles to avoid a recession and a credit-rating downgrade to junk. The lender, which has slipped to fifth-largest bank by market value in South Africa after being overtaken by Investec Plc, plans to expand in East Africa and use its stake in Togo’s Ecobank Transnational Inc.to benefit from faster growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Retail clients increased 8.5 percent to 2.7 million last year, the bank said.
“We currently forecast that growth in diluted headline earnings per share for 2016 will be lower than the growth we achieved in 2015 and below our medium- to long-term target,” Mike Brown, chief executive officer of Nedbank, said in the statement. “Rising interest rates will increase borrowing costs and dampen consumer credit demand. Credit defaults are also expected to increase.”
This year, Nedbank said it will increase its stake in Mozambique’s Banco Unico to 50 percent plus one share at a cost of about 178.4 million rand in the first half.