Investec will pay its highest interim dividend yet after booking double-digit growth in income from lending during the first six months.
The specialist lender with operations in the UK and South Africa announced a 15.5 pence per share payout after posting a 32% jump in headline earnings in the six months to September, at the top end of its guidance.
Net interest income rose 12% year-on-year.
The earnings were “against a difficult macroeconomic backdrop, which was characterized by high inflation, elevated global interest rates and persistent market volatility,” Group CEO Fani Titi said in a statement.
The performance was underpinned by loan book growth and rising interest rates, he said.
South Africa has increased its benchmark interest rate by 200 basis points in the 12 months through November.
In the UK, base rates are up 225 basis points over the same period. Investec makes as much as R100 million more annually for every additional 25 basis points and £11 million for a similar increase in UK base rates, the lender said.
Its impairment charges jumped 57%, and the credit-loss ratio, a measure of bad loans as a percentage of the total book, climbed to 0.32%, close to the upper end of the group’s 0.25%-0.35% target range.
The ratio is much lower than bigger lenders Standard Bank and Absa, which had 97 basis points and 1.27% at the end of June.
“We have seen idiosyncratic client stresses, with no evidence of trend deterioration in the overall credit quality of the book,” Titi said in the emailed statement.
Investec’s shares were down 0.1% by 11:11 a.m. in Johannesburg, paring losses of as much as 2.1% in earlier trade.