Banking group FirstRand said on Thursday its basic and diluted headline earnings per share rose 12 percent to 472.7 cents in the year ended June. File Photo: IOL

JOHANNESBURG - Banking group FirstRand said on Thursday its basic and diluted headline earnings per share rose 12 percent to 472.7 cents in the year ended June and announced a dividend of 275 cents per ordinary share, up eight percent from last year.

FirstRand, whose portfolio of integrated financial services businesses comprises FNB, RMB, WesBank, Aldermore and Ashburton Investments, reported a four percent increase to 8.15 million in customers.

"Despite a very challenging macroeconomic environment, especially in the first half of the financial year, FirstRand’s portfolio of businesses once again produced quality topline growth and a superior return on equity," CEO Alan Pullinger said.

"Whilst WesBank had a tough year in a sector experiencing increased competition and declining volumes, posting a decrease in earnings of nine percent, FNB delivered excellent earnings growth of 16 percent. This was driven by good growth in customers, volumes, advances and deposits, and successful cross-sell strategies."

FirstRand noted that the election of Cyril Ramaphosa last December to lead the ruling ANC had seen sentiment and markets stage a recovery, with the outlook for South Africa remaining more positive than it had been for some time.

"Given, however, the structural nature of many of South Africa's challenges the group believes that domestic fundamentals will not change quickly," it said.

"In the medium to longer term, given the market leading positions of its businesses in South Africa and the growth strategies it is executing on, FirstRand considers itself strategically well positioned to benefit from renewed system growth," it added.

- African News Agency (ANA)