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South Africa’s Standard Bank FY Profit Rises by 14%, Offshore Businesses Robust

South African lender Standard Bank on Thursday reported a 14 percent rise in full-year profit as relatively higher commodity prices boosted its operations elsewhere in the continent.

Diluted headline EPS, the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out one-off items, came in at 1,620 cents in the year ended December, compared with 1,421 cents a year earlier.

Net interest income, a key measure of lending profitability, grew 6 percent to 60 billion rand ($5.06 billion).

Standard Bank said its operations elsewhere in Africa, including in oil-rich Angola and Nigeria, delivered a robust performance while its home market suffered as a weak economy hit both consumption and investment spending.

Companies in South Africa are banking on President Cyril Ramaphosa to follow through on promises to kick-start the economy, fight corruption and bring policy certainty.

Lenders like Standard Bank have largely borne the brunt of a stagnant economy and political uncertainty relating to corruption allegations surrounding former president Jacob Zuma, who denies any wrongdoing.

“We are also optimistic about the prospects in our home market of South Africa,” Standard Bank said in a statement.

“We believe that the positive steps taken already by the ruling party subsequent to its leadership conference will improve business and consumer confidence.”

($1 = 11.8604 rand)