Alexa

Australia's Westpac bank reports 12 percent rise in net profit for half-year

Australia's Westpac bank reports 12 percent rise in net profit for half-year

Westpac Banking Corp., Australia's fourth-largest bank, reported Thursday a 12 percent rise in net profit for the six months to March 31, to a record 1.64 billion Australian dollars (US$1.35 billion; euro990 million).
Chief executive David Morgan said the "result was driven by a good performance across Australian banking and an outstanding performance in our wealth management business."
Westpac reported A$1.49 billion (US$1.23 billion; euro910 million) for the year-earlier period.
Westpac said it will pay a first half dividend of 63 cents, up from 56 cents a year earlier.
The bank's cash profit, a smoothed measure closely watched by analysts, rose 11 percent to A$1.68 billion (US$1.38 billion; euro1.02 billion), slightly ahead of market expectations.
Morgan said performances were strong across the Australian banking and wealth management businesses but that the bank's New Zealand and Pacific businesses faced difficult trading environments.
"We are in the early stages of turning around our New Zealand business," he said.
The result met expectations of five analysts surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires, whose median estimate was for a cash profit of A$1.67 billion (US$1.378 billion; euro1.01 billion) and a dividend of 62 cents.
Still, shares in the bank declined Thursday, finishing more than 1 percent lower at A$27.20.
Westpac Chief Financial Officer Phil Coffey told reporters the lender would look at local merger and acquisition opportunities as they arise.
"Strategically, we have got everything that we need and there is plenty of opportunity for us to achieve organic growth," he said.
"Having said that, we will always look at opportunities as they come along, but we have a pretty strict criteria that they should be strategically aligned, they've got to be not unduly diluting and they've got to make sense for shareholders," he said.
Continuing its policy of not giving specific earnings guidance, Westpac said it expects the Australian operating environment to stay positive for the remainder of 2007, and credit growth to remain broadly around current levels.


Updated : 2021-04-11 03:25 GMT+08:00