JOHANNESBURG, March 2 (Reuters) - South Africa’s No.4 lender by value Nedbank reported a slight increase in full-year profit on Friday as cost cuts and lower bad debts offset a weak showing at its west-African associate Ecobank .
Diluted headline EPS, the primary profit gauge in South Africa that strips out one-off items, rose 2.4 percent to 2,406 cents in the year ended December.
Excluding the results from Ecobank, which suffered 744 million rand in associate income losses, Nedbank would have managed about an 8 percent rise in headline EPS, the company said.
Net interest income, a key measure of lending profitability, was 4.5 higher at 27.6 billion rand.
Nedbank, along with rivals, has struggled to grow lending at a faster rate as a stagnant economy and high personal debt levels hit both investment and investment spending.
But the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as South African president last month on promises to revitalise the economy has lifted confidence among business leaders. [
“While structural challenges remain, 2018 has started with renewed optimism that these will be addressed and that improving business and consumer confidence should lead to a cyclical upturn off a low base,” Nedbank said in a statement. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng Editing by Ed Stoddard)