* Earnings seen up 7 pct in pounds
* Impairments to fall 35 pct
* Shares up 2 pct
JOHANNESBURG, March 20 South African investment
bank and asset manager Investec said on Thursday its
full-year earnings would rise as much as 7 percent after it cut
its bad debt charges, sending its shares higher.
The bank's pound-denominated adjusted earnings per share
likely grew by between 0-7 percent in the year to end-March.
Rand earnings are seen 22-27 percent higher after the South
African currency weakened.
"The big impact on us in the period would be the rand. It
depreciated by 20 percent in the period," Chief Executive
Stephen Koseff told an investor briefing in Johannesburg.
"Against this backdrop, overall our operating profit will be
marginally ahead of the prior year in sterling, which translates
to approximately 28 percent in rand."
Investec, which is also listed in London, said its
struggling Australia arm had dampened an improved performance in
Africa and Britain.
Investec is in the process of disposing part of that
Australian unit and is also selling Kensington, a UK mortgage
Investors have taken kindly to the sales, which they see
supporting earnings over the next few years.
Investec shares were up 2 percent at 80.35 rand in
Johannesburg at 1220 GMT, bringing gains so far this year to
nearly 8 percent.
Earnings, if they come in on the higher end of Investec's
guidance, will be just marginally lower than what analysts
polled by Reuters had predicted.
Impairments, or bad debt charges, are seen falling by 35
percent, the bank said.
Lending in the first 11 months also declined 10 percent to
16.6 billion pounds, while third party assets under management
decreased by 3 percent.
(Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ed Stoddard)