August 6, 2018 / 6:09 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-South Africa's Absa H1 profit down 4 percent

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JOHANNESBURG, Aug 6 (Reuters) - South African lender Absa Group reported a 4 percent fall in half-year profit on Monday, weighed down by costs related to its separation from former parent Barclays.

Headline earnings per share (EPS) came in at 877.8 cents in the six months ended June compared with 917.3 cents a year earlier.

Headline EPS is the main profit measure in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items.

Absa said earnings included 1.4 billion rand ($104.90 million) costs related to its separation from Britain’s Barclays, which sold down its controlling stake to just over 10 percent last year to focus on its home market and the United States.

Maria Ramos, Absa’s chief executive, has since mapped out an ambitious growth strategy to regain market share in retail banking at home and double the sales contribution from its 10 operations elsewhere in Africa.

Absa said its retail unit, which launched WhatsApp banking and Samsung Pay earlier this year, grew headline earnings by 4 percent to 4.2 billion rand. ($1 = 13.3461 rand) (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Ed Stoddard and Sunil Nair)

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