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Australia's St. George Bank reports 14 percent jump in half-year profits

Australia's St. George Bank reports 14 percent jump in half-year profits

St. George Bank Ltd., Australia's fifth-largest bank, on Tuesday announced a 14 percent jump in net profit for the six months through March, to 572 million Australian dollars (US$474 million; 348 million) from A$511 million (US$423 million; euro311 million) a year earlier.
The bank said it will pay a first-half dividend of A$0.82, up from A$0.74 a year ago.
St. George raised its earnings guidance for the full-year to earnings per share growth of 11 percent to 12 percent _ up from 10 percent _ and reaffirmed its target of 10 percent cash earnings per share growth in the 2008 financial year.
The bank's cash profit, a statistic closely watched by analysts, rose 15 percent to a record A$568 million (US$471 million; euro346 million) in its first half from A$495 million (US$410 million; euro301 million) a year earlier.
The bank's stock gained 64 cents to close at A$36.65.