[SYDNEY] Australia's No. 4 lender ANZ Banking Group on Tuesday posted a 24 per cent drop in first-half cash profit, widely missing forecasts, weighed by higher bad debt charges led by a commodity downturn.
It also slashed its interim dividend by 7 per cent to 80 cents. Cash profit for the first six months to March 31 slipped to A$2.78 billion compared with A$3.68 billion a year ago and an analysts' estimate of A$3.48 billion.
The 24 per cent cash profit drop was the biggest six-month decline since 2008.
Of the major four Australian banks, ANZ is the only one to have developed a large business overseas, predominantly in Asia, but under new CEO Shayne Elliott it is shifting its strategy to refocus at home.