ANZ profits dive, dividend cut by 7%

by John Maguire04 May 2016
ANZ has announced a 24% drop in its first half cash profits, with the bank also cutting its dividend by 7%.
ANZ’s cash profit fell to $2.8 billion, substantially below the consensus forecast of $3.6 billion, according to the major's half-year results announcement.

Net profit for the first half came to $2.7 billion, marking a fall of 22% from the $3.5 billion reported at the same point last year.

The bank has also reported $717 million in charges, described as “specified items” that were “primarily related to initiatives to reposition the Group for stronger profit … growth in the future.”

Changes to accounting practice accounted for $441 million of that figure, along with a $260 million impairment on its investment in Malaysia's AmBank, and $100 million in restructuring costs.

ANZ’s cut to its dividend was not unexpected, though few would have anticipated so large a drop as 7%, to 80 cents a share. Shayne Elliott, ANZ CEO, said that the dividend cut was designed to draw the bank’s dividend payout ratio to within range of 60-65% of its annual cash profit, thus providing a “conservative, sustainable and fully franked dividend base for the future".

Elliott added, "This setting better reflects the changed banking environment in which we operate and the greater demands for capital.

"This result reflects a challenging period for banking and we have taken the opportunity to move decisively and adapt to the changing environment by building a simpler, better capitalised and more balanced bank."