In contrast, operations in the other African markets where Standard operated, recorded “strong” growth, the bank said in a trading update yesterday to the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) .
Standard has to provide certain information periodically to the ICBC, so that the ICBC can equity account the group’s results.
“In 1Q19, earnings attributable to ordinary shareholders were 8percent higher than in the comparative period. In the period the headline earnings adjustable items were negligible.”
The attributable earnings growth was double the 4percent growth reported to the ICBC for the nine months to September 30, 2018. For the year to December 31, 2018, attributable equity to ordinary shareholders increased 5.1percent over the previous year.
In the first quarter net interest income was supported by year-on-year loan growth.
Non-interest revenue growth was supported by an increase in trading revenue.
Operating expenses were elevated due to costs relating to branch closures. The bank, the country’s biggest lender, said in March it would close 91branches and reduce its head-count by 1200 by June 2019 as it steps up digitisation in its consumer and business banking operations. Standard Bank had 53178 employees in 2018, an internet search showed.
Credit impairment charges were higher than in previous years due to the non-repeat of prior year releases in Africa regions, a statement from the bank said.
Standard Bank’s share price fell by more than 2percent to R194.49 on the JSE yesterday, in line with a 2percent decline in the Banks Index.
FirstRand, Absa Group, Nedbank and Capitec bank shares were all lower mid-afternoon yesterday. By the close the share price was at R195.13.