Falling impairments to boost Investec FY earnings

Reuters - UK Focus

* Earnings seen up 7 pct in pounds

* Impairments to fall 35 pct

* Shares up 2 pct (Adds details)

JOHANNESBURG, March 20 (Reuters) - South African investmentbank and asset manager Investec (LSE: INVP.L - news) said on Thursday itsfull-year earnings would rise as much as 7 percent after it cutits bad debt charges, sending its shares higher.

The bank's pound-denominated adjusted earnings per sharelikely grew by between 0-7 percent in the year to end-March.Rand earnings are seen 22-27 percent higher after the SouthAfrican currency weakened.

"The big impact on us in the period would be the rand. Itdepreciated by 20 percent in the period," Chief ExecutiveStephen Koseff told an investor briefing in Johannesburg.

"Against this backdrop, overall our operating profit will bemarginally ahead of the prior year in sterling, which translatesto approximately 28 percent in rand."

Investec, which is also listed in London, said itsstruggling Australia arm had dampened an improved performance inAfrica and Britain.

Investec is in the process of disposing part of thatAustralian unit and is also selling Kensington, a UK mortgagebusiness.

Investors have taken kindly to the sales, which they seesupporting earnings over the next few years.

Investec shares were up 2 percent at 80.35 rand inJohannesburg at 1220 GMT, bringing gains so far this year tonearly 8 percent.

Earnings, if they come in on the higher end of Investec'sguidance, will be just marginally lower than what analystspolled by Reuters had predicted.

Impairments, or bad debt charges, are seen falling by 35percent, the bank said.

Lending in the first 11 months also declined 10 percent to16.6 billion pounds, while third party assets under managementdecreased by 3 percent.

(Reporting by Helen Nyambura-Mwaura; Editing by Ed Stoddard)

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