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Absa Group posts YOY rise in H1 profit, to name new CEO 'in due course'

Absa Group Ltd. reported first-half profit attributable to ordinary equity holders of 7.64 billion South African rand, up from the restated 7.25 billion rand in the previous year.

The South African financial services group's headline earnings for the period amounted to 7.65 billion rand, compared to the year-ago 7.32 billion rand. Headline EPS amounted to 918.4 cents, up year over year from 877.8 cents.

The group noted that headline EPS included 863 million rand of costs related to its separation from British banking group Barclays PLC, recognized as operating expenses.

Return on equity was 14.0%, compared to 14.1% a year earlier.

Net interest income rose on a yearly basis to 22.78 billion rand from 21.05 billion rand. Net fee and commission income also increased, to 11.58 billion rand from 10.99 billion rand.

The group booked impairment losses of 3.70 billion rand, up from 3.12 billion rand a year earlier. Operating expenses amounted to 23.00 billion rand, compared to the year-ago 22.20 billion rand.

The group declared an interim dividend per share of 505 cents for the period, 3% higher than a year ago, payable to shareholders on the register at the close of business Sept. 13. Payment date is Sept. 16.

As of June 30, the group's common equity Tier 1 ratio stood at 12.5%, compared to 13.3% a year earlier and 12.8% at the end of 2018. Its capital adequacy ratio was 16.0% at the end of June, compared to 16.7% a year ago and 16.1% at Dec. 31, 2018.

Separately, the group said Aug. 12 that the boards of Absa Group and unit Absa Bank Ltd. have completed the process to appoint a group CEO, who will be named in due course and take up office in January 2020.

René van Wyk has been interim CEO of the group and Absa Bank since March, after Maria Ramos stepped down from the roles.

As of Aug. 12, US$1 was equivalent to 15.34 South African rand.