A R719m “Barclays separation” fee dragged Absa’s overall interim headline earnings down by 4% to R7.3bn, its first half results released on Monday showed. According to Absa, this drop in headline earnings was due to new, stricter accounting rules. Under the previously used accounting rules, headline earnings grew 3% to R8bn. Absa declared a R4.90 interim dividend for the six months to end-June, 3% higher than the R4.75 paid in the matching period. The group’s biggest earnings generator, its South African retail and business banking (RBB) division, grew its contribution by 4.2% to R4.2bn. RBB contributed 57% of Absa’s total headline earnings. Its second biggest earnings generator, South African corporate and investment banking (CIB) division, suffered a 5.6% decline to R1.7bn, while its rest of Africa banking division grew earnings 8.2% to R1.6bn. CIB’s 23% contribution to the group’s headline earnings was only slightly ahead of the rest of Africa banking division’s 22%. Absa managed...

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