ANZ lifts full-year cash profit

Lender posts strong lift in FY cash profit as it looks to unlock further benefits of its Asian push, pays final dividend of 91 cents.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has posted a strong lift in cash profit as it begins to reap the benefits of an Asian-focussed strategy.

In the year to September 30, ANZ posted a cash profit of $6.498 billion, an 11% increase on the $5.830 billion in the previous year.

In the same period operating income was $18.446 billion, a four% increase on the $17.711 billion in the previous corresponding period.

Net profit, which factors in one-off financial items, was $6.272 billion, also an 11% increase on the $5.661 billion in the previous year.

ANZ will pay a fully-franked final dividend of 91 cents, a sharp lift on the 79 cents in the previous year. The final dividend will paid on December 16, to shareholders on the register at November 13.

Combined with the interim dividend of 73 cents, ANZ paid a total dividend of $1.64.

The results follow intense media speculation that Future Fund executive chairman David Gonski is being courted to replace John Morschel. 

Australian, international units post strong FY performances

ANZ said its Australian operations saw a 16% increase in home loan sales during the year. which underpinned an 11% lift in divisional profit and seven% income growth.

Offshore, ANZ's international and institutional banking unit saw a 15% increase in profit.

"We are leveraging our market leading position in Australia and New Zealand while increasing the contribution coming from Asia," the lender said.

"A third of Institutional customers today deal with ANZ in multiple countries and 48% of revenue came from Asia Pacific Europe and Americas (APEA) in 2013."

Smith lauds Asian focus

ANZ chief executive officer Mike Smith the result reflected the lender's "distinctive" long-term strategy focused on both domestic growth and targeted expansion in Asia.

"The continued shift of global growth to Asia means that our strategy focussed on building an Asia-connected bank makes more sense than ever," Mr Smith said.

"It is creating growth options in all our businesses by allowing us to better meet the needs of customers by capturing the banking opportunities linked to regional capital, trade and wealth flows."

Mr Smith said the transformation at the lender over the past six years was significant and it was now positioned to  begin "to unlock the real potential of our franchise in Australia, New Zealand and Asia-Pacific".

"This means we can continue to grow while also targeting a further reduction in our cost-to-income ratio to 43% or better, along with improving our return on equity to at least 16% by the end of the 2016 financial year," he said.