Alan Pullinger. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Alan Pullinger. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

Shareholders of FirstRand — the holding company of First National Bank (FNB), WesBank, Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), and UK bank Aldermore — will receive a R1.45 final dividend.

This takes the banking group’s total dividend for its 2018 financial year to R2.75, an 8% increase on the prior year’s R2.55.

"FNB’s results reflect another strong performance from its South African business, growing earnings 16% on the back of growth in customers, volumes and balance sheet, and successful cross-sell strategies," FirstRand CEO Alan Pullinger said in the results statement released on Thursday morning.

"RMB’s diversified corporate and investment banking portfolio delivered a solid performance in a challenging market.

"WesBank had a tough year, however, it still delivered an acceptable return on equity. The recently acquired UK bank, Aldermore, enhanced group earnings and return on equity."

FirstRand reported its headline earnings per share (HEPS) grew 12% to 472.7c in the year to end-June from 423.7c.

FNB contributed 56% of the group’s normalised headline earnings, RMB 28%, WesBank 14%, and recently acquired Aldermore 1%.

Tough conditions in the vehicle financing market were indicated by a 9% decline in WesBank’s earnings while FNB’s grew 16%.

The results statement did not provide FNB’s customer numbers, but claimed the retail bank was enjoying "growth on the back of ongoing customer gains and increased transactional volumes".

FirstRand has been less aggressive in expanding into the rest of Africa than its rivals. Of FNB’s R14.9bn normalised earnings, only R110m came from the rest of Africa.

"The group’s strategy outside of its domestic market includes growing its presence and offerings in nine markets in the rest of Africa where it believes it can organically build competitive advantage and scale over time," Pullinger said.

"In the UK, the group has, over the past eight years, focused on organically transforming its existing business, MotoNovo, into the UK’s third-largest independent used vehicle financier."