Cape Town - 101011 - Banking Fees - CAPITEC Bank has been found to have the lowest fees. Photo: Matthew Jordaan

Johannesburg - Capitec Bank, South Africa’s second-largest provider of unsecured loans, gained the most in more than three years in Johannesburg trading after saying first-half earnings will rise as much as 22 percent.

Capitec climbed as much as 8.6 percent and traded 8.2 percent higher at 230.13 rand at 4:02 pm, the biggest intraday advance since May 2011.

Earnings per share for the six months ending June will be 18 percent to 22 percent higher than a year earlier, the Stellenbosch-based lender said in a statement today.

The lender’s announcement comes after the collapse last month of competitor African Bank Investments Ltd.

South Africa, Capitec’s only market, is battling high unemployment and inflation that has breached the central bank’s 6 percent upper limit.

“Transaction income grew significantly not only because of an increase in client numbers, but also because we attracted clients in higher income groups who do more transacting,” the lender said.

“Growth in retail was satisfactory under the current market conditions and the bad debt results were in line with our risk appetite which factored in these market conditions.”

Capitec is due to make a full earnings announcement on September 29. - Bloomberg News