Australia's Westpac Bank annual net profit jumps 12%

GMT 16:00 2014 Monday ,03 November

Arab Today, arab today Australia's Westpac Bank annual net profit jumps 12%

Australia's Westpac Bank
Sydney - AFP

Australian banking giant Westpac on Monday posted a 12 percent jump in full-year net profit to Aus$7.56 billion (US$6.60 billion), driven by growth in lending volumes and customer deposits.
The result in the 12 months to September 30 compared to Aus$6.82 billion the previous year, with chief executive Gail Kelly hailing it as "high quality" at a time of slower global growth.
Cash earnings -- the measure more closely watched by analysts, which strips out volatile items -- were up eight percent at Aus$7.63 billion, slightly above expectations.
The result follows a bumper annual net profit last week for ANZ Bank, up 15 percent to Aus$7.3 billion, although National Australia Bank's yearly profit shrunk 1.1 percent to Aus$5.3 billion due to hefty UK writedowns.
With the nation's biggest lender, Commonwealth Bank, posting a 13 percent jump in full-year net profit to a record Aus$8.63 billion in August, their collective profits soared to some Aus$28 billion for 2014, despite a slowing economy.
It makes Australia's banking sector one of the world's most successful, benefiting from falling bad debts and cost-cutting.
IG Markets' chief strategist Chris Weston said Westpac was the standout.
"Cash earnings grew 8.0 percent and are very modestly above expectations, while we saw a sizeable improvement in return on equity, with its net interest margins beating forecast," he said.
"Gail Kelly was upbeat on the company's prospects. The one disappointment may be the slightly below-par final dividend, but all-in-all the asset quality is improving and you can see why Westpac is the best performing bank in the ASX 200."
Revenue jumped seven percent on the previous year to Aus$19.94 billion.
The company announced a final dividend of 92 cents, taking its annual payout to shareholders to Aus$1.82 per share, joining the other big banks in boosting rewards for investors.
Investors though were disappointed, with the share price sliding 0.66 percent to close at Aus$34.55.
Westpac, the country's oldest bank and second largest by market capitalisation, said all divisions performed well over the year.
"We have delivered on improved growth and returns, while maintaining our disciplines of strength and productivity that have become hallmarks of Westpac," said Kelly.
She said lending, supported by low interest rates, grew eight percent and deposits were up seven percent, while customer numbers rose at their fastest pace in four years.
"Housing credit growth has increased over 2014 and we expect growth at similar levels to continue through 2015, driven by strong demand and continued low interest rates," said Kelly.
While businesses remain cautious, there were signs of improving prospects for non-mining investment and a continued moderate pick-up in business credit growth was expected, she added.
"These results demonstrate that our business is performing well with strong momentum," said Kelly.
"We believe we will continue to deliver strong outcomes for our customers and our shareholders in full-year 2015."

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