UPDATE 1-South Africa's FirstRand FY profit up 12 pct, beats forecasts

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JOHANNESBURG, Sept 6 (Reuters) - South Africa’s largest lender FirstRand beat estimates with a 12 percent rise in annual profit on Thursday, helped by income and deposit fees.

Headline earnings per share (EPS) came in at 473 cents in the year though to the end of June, above the 465 cents forecast in a poll of 11 analysts by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Headline EPS, which strips out certain one-off items, is the main profit measure in South Africa.

South African banks have struggled to grow lending at a faster rate, as a weak economy, which has slipped into recession, and high personal debt levels hit both investment and spending.

But FirstRand has built a meaningful market share at home, helping it boost non-interest revenue, or income from transaction and deposit fees.

The company, which competes with Standard Bank, Nedbank, Absa and Capitec, lifted its customer base by 4 percent to 8.15 million. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng, editing by David Evans)