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ANZ reveals first half profit drop

THE Australian and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd said yesterday that its first half profit -- after credit risk on derivatives and credit provisions -- will fall more than 15 percent to less than A$1.67 billion (US$1.1 billion) from the same time a year ago.

The Australian banking sector is relatively well regulated and the country's financial institutions are proving to be among the most resilient in the world. ANZ's after-tax and provisions profit for the same half-year to March 31, 2008, was A$1.963 billion.

The Melbourne-based bank, one of Australia's largest lenders, made the statement yesterday as a response to a share price query from the Australian Securities Exchange.

In regard to a slide in the share price on Tuesday, ASX adviser Julia Kagan asked if there was any reason to think that the profit for the half year through March 2009 would vary by more than 15 percent.

"Profit after credit risk on derivatives and credit provisions for the first half 2009 is expected to be more than 15 percent lower than for the first half of last year, but this may not be the case for the full year," ANZ secretary John Priestly wrote.

But operating profit before credit provisions and credit risk on derivatives for the half was expected to be "modestly higher" than for the period ending March 2008, he wrote.


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