Nedbank head offices in Sandton North of Johannesburg Photo by Simphiwe Mbokazi

JOHANNESBURG - Banking group Nedbank said on Friday its diluted headline earnings per share rose 2.4 percent to 2,406 cents in the year ended December 2017, despite what it called a challenging political and economic environment. 

Nedbank said 2018 had started with positive changes to South Africa's political and socioeconomic landscape and brought renewed prospects for higher levels of inclusive growth.

It said slower revenue growth in 2017 was offset by reduced impairments and good cost management, while its share of the loss from its associate bank  Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI)  following its fourth quarter 2016 results decreased in the second half of the year as ETI returned to profitability.

"The achievements of the last few years have provided us with a solid base and we continue delivering on our strategies and building the capabilities that will enable us to meet the 2020 targets we have now set of an ROE [return on equity] (excluding goodwill) of greater than or equal to 18 percent and an efficiency ratio of less than or equal to 53 percent," chief executive Mike Brown said.

Citing the impact of greater levels of business and consumer confidence evident in the early part of 2018, an improving economic outlook, ongoing delivery on our strategy and ETI’s returning to sustained levels of profitability, Nedbank said its guidance for growth in diluted headline earnings per share for 2018 was to be in line with its medium-to-long-term target of greater than or equal to GDP plus CPI plus five percent.

- African News Agency (ANA)