Strong lending propels Standard Bank FY earnings 14 pct higher

Thu Mar 6, 2014 1:30am EST

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JOHANNESBURG, March 6 (Reuters) - Standard Bank, Africa's largest bank by assets, reported a better-than-expected 14 percent rise in full-year earnings on Thursday after booking strong income from lending.

Standard Bank said headline earnings per share totalled 1,064.9 cents for the period ended in December, from 935 cents last year. Headline EPS, the benchmark profit measure in South Africa, excludes certain one-time items.

Analysts had penciled in a 10 percent increase in earnings for 2013.

Net interest income, a measure of earnings from lending, increased by 15 percent to 39 billion rand ($3.64 billion). Credit impairments, or bad debt charges, rose 5 percent to 9.2 billion rand.

Banks in Africa's largest economy have struggled as high unemployment and household debt levels have blunted demand for loans and hurt corporate spending.

Non-interest income, which includes revenue from arranging deals and advisory services, went up 6 percent 34.3 billion rand.

Standard Bank, 20 percent owned by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), is positioning itself as a full-service gateway to Africa, where it has operations in 18 countries. ($1 = 10.7042 South African rand) (Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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