Nedbank's headline earnings up 14.5%

Nedbank's [JSE:NED] headline earnings increased 14.5% to R13.5bn for the year ended December 31, 2018, the company announced on Tuesday.

Total dividend share increased by 10.1%, with total assets exceeding R1trn for the first time.

It released its preliminary audited results in the morning.

The bank concluded its managed separation from Old Mutual during the year and delivered a resilient financial performance, it said in a statement.

Revenue growth accelerated in the second half of the year, Nedbank added.

Online banking was a highlight for the bank, the statement said, with high client satisfaction ratings for the Nedbank Money app, as well as the Nedbank Private Wealth app.

The bank said it was planning to continue moving in a digital direction off the back of its 2018 successes.

Digital innovations

"Our progress in 2018 enabled us to grow our market share of main-banked clients across all our business clusters," CEO Mike Brown said. "Our strategic enablers, including ongoing technology investments through our managed evolution programme, our people, our culture and our brand continue to create a more client-focused, agile, competitive and digital Nedbank.

"The innovations we plan to launch during 2019 are expected to result in another step change in client experiences, enabling ongoing revenue growth and efficiencies over time."

African expansion

Brown also told Reuters that Nedbank was intending to continue doing business with West African lender Ecobank, in which it holds a 21% stake. Ecobank is crucial to Nedbank's plans for expansion in Africa.

"We would envisage that rest of Africa will continue to grow faster off a low base than our South African operations," Brown told Reuters.

Bloomberg previously reported that the Ecobank venture was part of a strategic drive to target a region that lenders are increasingly eyeing, in the hopes of benefiting from faster economic growth.

Nedbank is the biggest holder in Ecobank and started offering wealth products to the company's clients in Ivory Coast. It plans to replicate the service elsewhere in future - Ecobank has customers in over 30 countries. 

Nedbank's share of income from Ecobank came to R608m, with headline earnings from the West African bank rising to R375m from a R975m loss a year previously.

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