Australia's ANZ H1 profits jump 10%

ANZ bank on Wednesday posted a first half net profit rise of 10 percent to Aus$2.92 billion (US$3.01 billion) on the back of strong international results, and said it was optimistic about the future.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group's profit for the six months to March 31 was up from Aus$2.66 billion in the previous corresponding period but slightly lower than analysts' forecasts.

Its underlying profit, a measure often preferred by financial institutions, rose a more modest six percent to Aus$2.97 billion.

Australia's third-largest bank said its result was helped by good returns in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and America, despite subdued growth in Australia.

ANZ chief executive Mike Smith called it a "solid financial result in an increasingly challenging environment".

"In Australia, we made market share gains and customer satisfaction remained strong," he said.

"Our financial performance, however, was subdued, significantly impacted by declining margins and the structural shift that's occurred since the financial crisis with persistently lower demand for credit."

Despite this, he remains upbeat.

"We remain optimistic about Australia and New Zealand, and about the growth businesses we have created in Asia," said Smith.

"While there is a great deal more that needs to be done at ANZ, we continued to make good progress in the first half."

The Melbourne-based lender declared an interim dividend of 66 cents, up from 64 cents for the same period in the previous year.

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