FirstRand Limited Reports Strong 2023 Financial Performance Amidst Economic Challenges

  • Robust Financial Performance: FirstRand Limited reports a 6% increase in normalised earnings, reflecting strong net interest income growth.
  • Resilient Risk Management: The credit loss ratio stands at 0.83%, well below the group's through-the-cycle range midpoint.
  • Published by
    Lethabo Ntsoane

FirstRand Limited has announced its unaudited interim results and cash dividend declaration for the six months ending 31 December 2023. Despite facing headwinds from prevailing economic conditions, the group showcased resilience and strategic acumen, delivering robust financial performance and sustaining shareholder value.

Financial Highlights

The interim results underscored the positive outcomes of strategic decisions made by FirstRand, as evidenced by several key financial metrics:

Financial MetricSix Months Ended 31 Dec 2023 (R million)Six Months Ended 31 Dec 2022 (R million)Percentage Change
Basic and Diluted Normalised Earnings19,09717,988+6%
Normalised ROE20.6%21.6%
Dividends Per Share200 cents189 cents+6%
Net Interest Income (NII)42,77137,681+14%
Non-Interest Revenue (NIR)26,57725,534+4%
Credit Loss Ratio0.83%0.74%
Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) Ratio13.3%13.2%

Strong Financial Performance

FirstRand’s performance reflects its adeptness in navigating challenging economic terrain while leveraging strategic initiatives to drive growth:

Robust Revenue Growth

  • Net Interest Income (NII)
    surged by 14%, benefiting from continued momentum in new business origination and growth in the deposit franchise.
  • Non-Interest Revenue (NIR) witnessed a 4% increase, supported by strong performances across retail, commercial, and corporate transactional franchises.

Prudent Risk Management

  • Despite cyclical pressures, the group maintained a commendable credit loss ratio of 0.83%, well below its through-the-cycle range midpoint.
  • FirstRand’s disciplined approach to lending and strategic provisioning ensured a resilient credit performance.

Shareholder Value Creation

  • Normalised ROE remained robust at 20.6%, within the target range of 18% to 22%, reflecting the group’s ability to deliver sustainable returns.
  • The board maintained the dividend cover unchanged at 1.7 times, translating into an interim dividend increase of 6%.

Strategic Initiatives Driving Performance

FirstRand’s success can be attributed to its focused execution of strategic initiatives aimed at maximizing shareholder value:

Customer-Centric Approach

  • The group’s emphasis on affordability indicators in retail origination underscored its commitment to meeting customer needs amidst a high-rate environment.

Balance Sheet Management

  • FirstRand’s balanced approach to balance sheet management, including appropriate provisioning and focus on growing the deposit franchise, contributed to its financial resilience.

Optimized Endowment Profile

  • The management’s prudent management of the endowment profile played a pivotal role in optimizing returns amidst economic uncertainties.

Conclusion

FirstRand Limited’s strong financial performance for the first half of 2023 reflects its resilience and strategic prowess in navigating challenging economic conditions. By maintaining a customer-centric focus, prudent risk management, and disciplined execution of strategic initiatives, the group has sustained its position as a leading player in South Africa’s financial landscape. As it continues to adapt to evolving market dynamics, FirstRand remains well-positioned to capitalize on growth opportunities while delivering sustainable returns to its stakeholders.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted: Email: lethabo@rateweb.co.za Twitter: @NtsoaneLethabo