ANZ REPORTS BIG PROFIT RISE AS RATE RIGGING SETTLEMENT CONTINUES

Written on the 26 October 2017 by Ben Hall

ANZ REPORTS BIG PROFIT RISE AS RATE RIGGING SETTLEMENT CONTINUES

ANZ (ASX: ANZ) has announced a bumper full year profit rise of 18 per cent to $6.94 billion, just days after it settled rate-rigging allegations by the corporate regulator by reportedly agreeing to pay a $50 million fine.

The bank's cash profit for the 12 months to 30 September was roughly in line with analyst expectations and its net profit, which includes one-off items and other charges, rose 12 per cent to $6.4 billion.

On Monday, ANZ was one of three banks, including NAB and Westpac, which faced a trial on allegations by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) that they manipulated the bank bill swap rate (BBSW).

The BBSW is a key interest rate benchmark used to set their own rate for business and personal lending and ASIC alleges this was manipulated so they could charge more for their loans to boost their own profits.

ANZ reached the settlement just as the Federal Court trial was about to commence in Melbourne on Monday morning. It reached an in-principal agreement with ASIC and the final details are still being negotiated.

ASIC had alleged ANZ had breached the law on 44 occasions between 2010 and 2012 and was seeking to have financial penalties imposed on all three banks along with a court declaration that they broke the law and engaged in unconscionable conduct.

As ANZ posted its results, CEO Shayne Elliott said the bank didn't want to "sit on lazy capital" and indicated that it was looking at handing cash back to shareholders in the form of a buyback as it continues to divest assets.

Cash profit was also roughly in line with analyst expectations, while net profit, which includes one-off items and other charges, rose 12 per cent to $6.406 billion.

"As we sell things we get the funds and so what we've said is there's no real incentive for us to sit on lazy capital," Elliott says.

"So, when we do get those proceeds, and we haven't really received that money from any of those sales just yet, when we do, we would be in a position to consider returning that to shareholders."

The bank held its final dividend at 80 cents per share, bringing its full-year payout to $1.60.

At around midday (AEDT), ANZ shares were down by around 2 per cent to $29.89.

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Author: Ben Hall

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