S.Africa’s Standard Bank posts jump in earnings, highlights risks in Ukraine

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JOHANNESBURG, March 11 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Standard Bank (SBKJ.J) on Friday reported a 57% rise in its full-year profit as African economies gradually recovered from the impact of the pandemic, although the lender warned of risks to its prospects to Russia invasion of Ukraine.

Like most South African banks, Africa’s largest lender by asset value has seen its performance recover dramatically as economies recover and the massive strains from pandemic-related bad debt ease. Standard Bank saw credit risk mitigations fall 52% to 9.9 billion rand ($658.23 million).

Total earnings per share – the key earnings metric in South Africa – came in at 1,573 cents, compared to 1,002.6 cents a year ago, and at the high end of the guidance range. The company said it is on track to meet its 2025 targets.

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

However, the recovery in its home market of South Africa is expected to slow while other economies in the region face high levels of debt.

Russia’s war with Ukraine also risks damaging the recovery, it said, warning of a possible impact on financial markets, trade, transport logistics, commodity and food prices on the African continent.

The bank said it has “limited direct exposure” to Russia and Ukraine and actively ensures it complies 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 whose profits have been squeezed in the past, is linked to companies that are both directly and indirectly affected.

It’s not yet possible for the company to estimate the impact on its 2022 results, Standard Bank said, while declaring a final dividend of 511 cents per share.

($1 = 15.0403 rands)

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Reporting by Emma Rumney; Edited by Nqobile Dludla and Sherry Jacob-Phillips

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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