JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African investment bank and asset manager Investec posted a 5.3 percent rise in full-year profit on Thursday, broadly as expected, after managing to stave off bad credit charges. Investec, which is also listed in London, said its adjusted earnings came in at 38 pence per share from 36.1 pence a year ago. It had forecast earnings would rise by as much as 7 percent for the year to end-March. Impairments, or bad debt charges, contracted to 166.2 million pounds - a 34 percent drop - while lending declined by nearly 7 percent to 17.2 billion pounds. The lender said it would pay out 19 pence per share in dividends, higher than the 18.09 pence analysts polled by Reuters had forecast. Investec, which has been trying to offload struggling units in Australia and Britain, said last month that Bank of Queensland would buy the professional finance and leasing arm of its Australian outfit for A$440 million. Kensington, a UK-based mortgage supplier to home buyers with poor credit history, had also received expressions of interest, it said.
"We have made significant strides to reshape and simplify the group to focus on our core businesses with the restructuring and sale of part of our Australian businesses," chief executive Stephen Koseff said.Investec shares are up more than 21 percent so far this year, climbing faster than the 7.6 percent rise by Johannesburg's Top-40 index.