SYDNEY, April 30, – Australia and New Zealand Banking Group on Tuesday reported better than expected half-year net profit of $Aus2.94 billion (US$3.04 billion) bolstered by a strong Asian showing.Australia’s third largest bank by market value said the result for the six months to March was up one percent on the same period last year.
However the bank’s preferred measure of underlying profit, stripping out one-off costs and gains, climbed 10 percent over the same period last year to 3.18 billion dollars, beating expectations of 3.13 billion.Chief executive Mike Smith has set expansion into Asia as a priority.
“Since 2008 we have worked hard to connect ANZ shareholders and customers to the significant opportunities being created by Asia’s fast-growing economies while building on our traditional strengths in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific,” he said.”This half saw us strengthen our franchises in Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, hold group margins steady, produce a lower cost-to-income ratio and achieve a higher return on equity while further strengthening our capital position.”
Smith added: “Things are improving in the US and that’s going to help global growth.”I think things have stabilised in China, and that will help this region.”Melbourne-based ANZ will raise its interim dividend by 11 per cent to 73 cents a share.Sydney’s ASX 200 market rallied 1.3 percent on the strong earnings report from ANZ whose shares closed up 5.78 percent at a record $31.84.
Morningstar analyst David Ellis said the results were good in current domestic conditions.”The earnings performance confirms our long-held argument the major banks can deliver reasonable profit and dividend growth despite only moderate loan growth,” he saidThe report launches Australia’s big bank earnings results which are expected to see ANZ, Westpac and NAB notch combined half-year profits of more than $9 billion dollars.
Australia’s largest lender Commonwealth Bank, working on a different reporting cycle, in February posted a $3.66 billion net profit in its first half.
(Copyright @ AFP / NNA Nepal)