ANZ 0.00% $25.42 australia and new zealand banking group limited

UP +2.3%, net profit $1.05bn, int div 39c

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    ANZ net profit $1.05bn for March half; int div 39c
    09:56, Friday, 26 April 2002

    Sydney - Friday - April 26: (RWE) - Australia and New Zealand
    Banking Group Ltd today announced a record net profit of $1.05 billion
    for the half-year to March, compared with a profit of $895 million for
    same period last year.
    Earnings per share were up 18.8 per cent to 66.3c.
    Return on equity was 21.6 per cent, compared with 19.6 per cent
    last year.
    Directors have declared an interim dividend of 39c fully
    franked, up from 33c.
    Chairman Mr Charles Goode said: "This is a good result in a
    challenging environment.
    "The consistency of our performance is the result of continued
    hard work in strategically repositioning ANZ and in building a high
    performance organisation.
    "We have achieved good earnings growth and a high return on
    equity that has remained above 20 per cent.
    "We ended the half well on track against our public financial
    targets and with a strong financial and capital position," Mr Goode
    said.
    Chief executive Mr John McFarlane noted the wide range of
    initiatives undertaken in recent years to reduce risk, to improve
    performance, to reshape the portfolio of businesses and to create a high
    performance culture.
    "While we still have some way to go, the collective impacty of
    these initiatives is now increasingly evident in the quality and
    consistency of our financial results, and in our ability to withstand
    unexpected surprises such as the collapse of Enron, which was the cause
    of the increased specific provision in the half.
    "Consistent with our philosophy of holding prudent capital and
    reserves, we took the opportunity to increase our general provision for
    doubtful debts by $250 million.
    "This enhances our capacity to deal with similar issues should
    they arise."
    With regard to the immediate outlook, the bank expected the
    Australian and New Zealand economies to perform relatively well, and for
    overseas markets to begin to strengthen from their low base, Mr
    McFarlane said.
    "Loan demand is expected to remain reasonably subdued, and
    rising domestic interest rates are likely to cause a squeeze on mortgage
    margins, partially offset by an improvement in deposit margins.
    "Loan losses tend to lag the economic cycle and these are
    expected to remain moderately high, although at levels that are
    manageable.
    "Expense growth is being managed within the revenue growth rate,
    which should lead to further improvement in the cost-income ratio."
    The bank continues to expect a favourable operating performance
    in the second half, with the 2002 and 2003 targets remaining unchanged.
    Shares in ANZ closed at $18.97 on Wednesday.
 
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