Absa Sees Slight Improvement in Profit Measure as Costs Ease

(Bloomberg) -- Absa Group Ltd. forecast that its return on equity, a measure of profit, will improve slightly this year, helped by the South African lender’s operations in the rest of the continent.

While costs will improve by the end of the year, expenses are still likely to grow faster than income, the Johannesburg-based bank said in a statement on Monday. Loan and deposit growth will improve, with its rest-of-Africa business outperforming its home market, as will its credit-loss ratio, while the company’s net interest margin “is likely to decline slightly this year,” the company said.

Absa, which last month rebranded from Barclays Africa Group Ltd. after its former parent reduced its controlling stake, is focusing on winning back market share in South Africa and doubling its share of revenue from its 12 other operations on the continent. The lender reported first-half adjusted earnings per share that rose 3 percent to 9.50 rand.

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