Nedbank profits take a knock as bad debts surge

NEDBANK lowered its 2009 earnings outlook yesterday after reporting a slide in first-half profit, as bad debts surged at its corporate and retail units.

NEDBANK lowered its 2009 earnings outlook yesterday after reporting a slide in first-half profit, as bad debts surged at its corporate and retail units.

Nedbank, the second of the big four banks to report results, said diluted headline earnings per share for the six months to end June fell 34,1percent to 474 cents, in line with its own forecast of a fall of between 32percent and 37percent.

"The retail earnings just imploded ... showing how sensitive this business is to bad debts," a Johannesburg-based banking analyst said. "So bad debts are denting their performance more easily than the other banks."

Nedbank's retail unit posted a 93,5percent drop in headline earnings to R47million, while its corporate unit headline earnings dipped 11,3percent to R685million.

The bank, majority-owned by Old Mutual Plc, said the impairment charge on loans and advances stood at R3,43billion compared with R1,9billion a year ago.

Old Mutual separately posted a bigger than expected profit drop.

"A reversal in the impairment trend is anticipated to begin to impact bank earnings growth positively only in the next 12 months to 18 months," Nedbank said in a statement.

Chief executive Tom Boardman later said impairments at the group's retail business had peaked, though corporate impairments would continue to rise into 2010.

Local banks have taken a knock from rising defaults in their corporate and retail businesses as the country faces its first recession in 17 years. - Reuters

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