ANZ improves half-year profit by 6% to $2.97 billion

The ANZ Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) has improved its half-year profit by 6%, to $2.97 billion, despite falling margins in its Australian operations.

The banking giant’s net profit for the six months to March 31 was up from $2.66 billion in the previous corresponding period.

Revenue growth of 4% outpaced expense growth of 3%.

ANZ CEO Mike Smith’s Asia strategy has paid off, as profits from Asia rose strongly, offsetting earnings declines in Australia.

“In line with the key trends outlined at our February trading update, there were good results from outside Australia – in APEA and in New Zealand, and in the performance of Institutional with its international focus,” Smith said in a statement to the ASX.

Smith said the bank’s financial performance in Australia was subdued; “significantly impacted by declining margins and the structural shift that’s occurred since the financial crisis with persistently lower demand for credit”.

Net interest margin excluding global markets, declined five basis points (bps), including global markets group margins declined six bps.

“The environment has changed permanently following the financial crisis – for banks and for all other parts of the economy including for our customers,” Smith said.

ANZ declared an interim fully-franked dividend of 66 cents, up from 64 cents. ANZ will hold a results webcast today at 10.30am AEST.

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