Bank posts robust result

BENDIGO Bank aims to continue to grow its business in the wake of a “robust” interim profit result, its managing director says.

The bank yesterday announced a statutory profit after tax of $180.7 million for the six months ending 31 December 2013, a 4.6 per cent decline on the previous corresponding period.

Underlying cash earnings were $185.9 million, a rise of 9.5 per cent on the previous corresponding period. Cash earnings per share were 45 cents, up 7.4 per cent.

The bank also announced an interim dividend of 31 cents per share (fully franked), up 1 cent, in line with the 2013 final dividend.

Bendigo Bank managing director Mike Hirst said the interim result was robust.

“Given the environment we have returned a good result,” he said.

“Our cash earnings grew nine and a half per cent, so that’s pretty solid.

“The interim dividend grew one cent and that’s good for shareholders, and the improvements with our cost controls mean we are becoming more efficient.”

The statutory profit was down due to the sale of IOOF in the previous corresponding period, he said.

The result reflected a low-growth environment but was balanced by the bank's work on its balance sheet.

“We’re seeing low growth due to subdued demand and an increase in people making additional efforts to pay down their debt,” he said.

“While this impacts the bank’s growth, this is fantastic for our customers as they’re building equity and greater financial wealth."

He said the bank had spent the past few years laying strong foundations for future growth.

“We’ve moved from consolidation to strengthening and now we’re entering an investment phase.

“This is a very exciting time for our bank.”

Looking forward Mr Hirst said he did not expect significant change in operating conditions.

He declined to comment on what to expect from the bank’s full-year profit “but hopefully we can continue to grow the business”.

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