ANZ repositioning comes at cost

ANZ's strategic repositioning has come at a cost with the big banking group today announcing a 24 per cent decline in cash profit to $2.8 billion for the half-year to 31 March.

The company announced to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) that statutory profit after tax for the period was $2.7 billion, down 22 per cent.

It said this had followed a $717 million net charge primarily related to initiatives to reposition the group for stronger profit before provisions growth in the future.

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The directors have determined an interim dividend of 80 cents per share fully-franked, down seven per cent.

The bank's ASX announcement claimed the results reflected strong performance in the ANZ's Australian and New Zealand consumer and small business franchises and challenging market conditions in Institutional Banking, including higher provisions in the resources sector and in related industries.

It said, however, that significant progress had been made in streamlining and simplifying ANZ "to ensure the bank is future ready".

ANZ chief executive, Shayne Elliott, said the result reflected a challenging period for banking.

He said banking was continuing to experience rapid shifts in technology, customer expectations, and regulations against a backdrop of low economic growth, volatile financial markets and rising credit costs.

The ANZ ASX announcement made reference to areas in which the bank believed it could carve out a winning position, and specifically mentioned the merger of its wealth distribution activities with core retail.

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