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Nedbank ups interim dividend as H1 profit rises YOY

South Africa's Nedbank Group Ltd. reported a year-over-year increase in its first-half profit attributable to ordinary shareholders, to 6.79 billion rand from 6.66 billion rand.

Headline EPS for the half was 14.35 rand, compared to the year-ago 13.87 rand.

Net interest income rose to 14.82 billion rand from 14.01 billion rand a year ago. Non-interest revenue increased on a yearly basis to 12.87 billion rand from 12.24 billion rand.

The group booked impairment charges on financial instruments of 2.54 billion rand, an increase from the year-ago 1.82 billion rand.

Total operating expenses came in at 15.57 billion rand, up from 14.76 billion rand a year earlier.

CEO Mike Brown said the group revised its growth guidance for its diluted headline EPS for 2019 to around nominal GDP growth in South Africa from previously greater than or equal to nominal GDP growth, due to slower-than-expected GDP growth in the country. Nedbank expects South Africa's GDP growth at just 0.5% in 2019, compared to its initial forecast of 1.3%.

The group also revised its expectation for non-interest revenue growth to around mid-single digits from mid-to-upper single digits. Expenses are expected to increase around mid-single digits, compared to the previous expectation of slightly above mid-single digits.

In addition, Nedbank declared an interim dividend of 7.20 rand per share, compared to the year-ago 6.95 rand per share, payable Sept. 16.

Return on equity stood at 16.8% at the end of June, compared to 17.2% a year ago. Excluding goodwill, ROE stood at 17.9% at June-end.

As of June-end, the group's Basel III common equity Tier 1 ratio stood at 11.3%, down from 11.7% at the end of 2018 and 12.4% a year ago.

As of Aug. 5, US$1 was equivalent to 14.90 South African rand.