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Current as of 22/09/14 07:40PM NZST

Record profit for ANZ

ANZ New Zealand posted a 27 percent gain in first-half cash profit, recording the biggest gain among the four operating divisions of Australia's third-largest lender after growing its home loan book and cutting costs.

Cash profit, which excludes non-core items, rose to $887 million in the six months ended March 31, from $697 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based lender said in a statement. Statutory profit rose 31 percent to $853 million. Operating income rose 8 percent to $1.9 billion and operating expenses fell 5 percent to $725 million.

ANZ New Zealand is the nation's biggest lender, having merged its operations with National Bank last year and phased out that brand. Its commercial operations were the biggest contributor to statutory profit, rising 14 percent to $377 million, while retail banking profit rose 25 percent to $222 million.

Its ANZ Wealth unit, which accounts for 25.8 percent of New Zealand KiwiSavers, lifted earnings to $121 million from $38 million, while earnings from its institutional arm slipped 2 percent to $163 million.

Cash profit for Melbourne-based parent Australia & New Zealand Banking Group rose 11 percent to A$3.52 billion, beating estimates in a Bloomberg survey. Net income climbed 15 percent to A$3.38 billion.

The parent's results record a 38 percent gain to A$546 million in cash profit from New Zealand, the biggest quarterly growth among its divisions. That was driven by "above system growth in mortgages, a reduction in credit impairment charges (reflecting strong improvements in credit quality across the lending book), a 6 percent decrease in operating expenses and favourable foreign exchange translation."

Cash profit from Australia rose 5 percent to A$1.48 billion and earnings from international and institutional banking rose 14 percent to A$1.37 billion. Global wealth earnings climbed 11 percent to $226 million.

The company will pay a first-half dividend of 83 Australian cents, or a total of A$2.3 billion, up 14 percent from a year earlier.

- BusinessDesk

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