South Africa's Nedbank H1 profit up 16 pct as bad debts drop

JOHANNESBURG Tue Aug 5, 2014 2:23am EDT

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JOHANNESBURG Aug 5 (Reuters) - Nedbank Group, the South African bank majority owned by insurer Old Mutual Plc , reported a 16 percent jump in first-half profit on Tuesday, buoyed by a drop in bad debts and stronger earnings from lending.

Nedbank, the smallest of South Africa's "big four" lenders, said diluted headline earnings totalled 965 cents a share in the six months to the end of June, from 831 cents a year earlier.

Like its rivals, Nedbank has been on a drive to reduce bad debts and concentrate on higher quality loans, reflecting concern about high levels of personal debt and anaemic growth in Africa's most developed economy.

Shares of the bank have risen 13 percent this year, outperforming an 11 percent rise in South Africa's benchmark Top-40 index.

(Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa)

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