Investec Forecasts Decline in First-Half Operating Profit

Investec Plc said it expects a decline in first-half operating profit, reflecting a depreciation in the rand, rising impairments in its South African business and investments to expand its U.K. operations.

Operating results in the six months through September are expected to be “slightly behind” the prior year, the company, which owns a lender and money manager in South Africa and the U.K., said in a statement on Friday. Investec’s specialist banking unit will probably show a decline, while the asset management and wealth businesses will post results that are “comfortably ahead” of the year-earlier period, it said.

Third-party assets under management increased more than 13 percent to 138 billion pounds ($182 billion) in the five months through August, and impairments rose in South Africa, while dropping in the U.K., Investec said.

Write-offs and non-performing loans rose at all of South Africa’s four biggest banks in the six months through June as the country’s economy slowed and inflation climbed. Investec, which also has operations in Australia, makes most of its operating profit in South Africa. After two interest rate increases in 2016, consumers are under pressure as it gets more difficult to repay debt.

Expenses are expected to grow faster than revenue due to investments in the business, Investec said. The common equity tier 1 ratio is expected to remain slightly below the group’s target of 10 percent for the South African operations, the group said.

Investec fell 1 percent to 467.70 pence as of 9:39 a.m. in London. The six-member FTSE/JSE Africa Banks Index rose 1.1 percent in Johannesburg.