Standard Bank posts profit surge, flags Ukraine risks

Its headline earnings per share stood at 1,573 cents, compared with 1,002.6 cents a year earlier, and at the upper end of its forecast range.
Image: Moneyweb

South Africa’s Standard Bank reported a 57% surge in its annual profit on Friday, as African economies gradually recovered from the pandemic fallout, although the lender warned of risks to its outlook following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Like most South African banks, Africa’s largest lender by assets has enjoyed a dramatic rebound in performance as economies bounce back and as massive charges for pandemic-related bad debts fade. Standard Bank saw a 52% decline in credit impairments to R9.9 billion ($658.23 million).

Its headline earnings per share – the main profit measure in South Africa – stood at 1,573 cents, compared with 1,002.6 cents a year earlier, and at the upper end of its forecast range. The company said it was on track to achieve its 2025 targets.

“2022 has started with strong momentum,” Standard Bank said, adding global growth was expected to remain above trend and pent-up consumer demand should drive up spending and trade.

It said the rebound, however, was expected to slow in its home market, South Africa, while other economies in the region faced high debt.

Russia’s war with Ukraine also risked denting the recovery, it said, warning of potential impact across financial markets, trade, transport logistics, commodity and food prices on the African continent.

The bank said it had some “limited direct exposure” to Russia and Ukraine and was actively ensuring it complied with all local and international laws.

A London-based joint venture with the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, in which Standard Bank has a 40% stake and has dragged on its profits in the past, has exposure to entities being impacted both directly and indirectly.

It is not possible for the venture to assess the impact on its 2022 results as yet, Standard Bank said, while declaring a final dividend of 511 cents per share.

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