Absa H1 Profit Down 4%

CEO Maria Ramos during the Absa rebranding launch held at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on July 11, 2018 in Sandton, South Africa. Barclays Africa changed its name back to Absa, in a rebranding aimed at underlining its South African roots as Britain’s Barclays gradually retreats from Africa, ending a 100-year history. (PICTURE Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Alon Skuy)

JOHANNESBURG: South African lender Absa Group reported a 4% fall in half-year profit on Monday, weighed down by costs related to its separation from former parent Barclays.

Headline earnings per share (EPS) came in at 877.8 cents in the six months ended June compared with 917.3 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS is the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items.

Absa said earnings included R1.4 billion costs related to its separation from Britain’s Barclays, which sold down its controlling stake to just over 10% last year to focus on its home market and the United States.

Maria Ramos, Absa’s chief executive, has since mapped out an ambitious growth strategy to regain market share in retail banking at home and double the sales contribution from its 10 operations elsewhere in Africa.

Absa said its retail unit, which launched WhatsApp banking and Samsung Pay earlier this year, grew headline earnings by 4% to R4.2 billion.