Bank of Queensland lifts H1 cash profit

Lender lifts interim cash earnings, dividend; says it remains well positioned to benefit from recovery in Qld economy.

Bank of Queensland (BoQ) has posted a strong lift in first-half cash earnings and says it remains well positioned to benefit from any recovery in the Queensland economy.

In the six months to February 28, Bank of Queensland posted cash earnings of $140.2 million, a 17.2% increase on the $119.9m recorded in the previous corresponding half.

Statutory net profit in the period rose 34% to $134.7m, from $100.5m in the first half of 2013.

The group will pay a fully-franked interim dividend of 32 cents, a 14% increase on the previous interim dividend of 28c.

Managing director and chief executive officer Stuart Grimshaw said the lender doesn't expect to see any significant change in business conditions in terms of external market conditions.

"With the likelihood of a return to a more normal trend in house price growth, we expect business credit growth will be the main driver behind future credit growth," he said.

"However, there is a sense that microeconomic reform will be critical in providing further impetus to the economy."

Shortly after Bank of Queensland's results were announced, the lender's shares were placed in a trading halt pending an announcement to the market.

The announcement is said to be in connection to "an acquisition and associated accelerated renounceable entitlement offer involving retail and institutional investors".

Reports suggest the announcement will likely be a confirmation of the bulk of Investec Australia's assets.