5 Nov 2012

Westpac profit down 15%

11:02 am on 5 November 2012

Westpac has reported a fall of 15% in full year net profit to $A5.97 billion following a tax bill related to its takeover of St George bank.

The result for the year to September 30 was down from $A6.99 billion in 2010/11, when Westpac received $1.1 billion in tax benefits.

The 2011/2012 result includes $A165 million in retrospective tax charges. Cash earnings in the 12 months to September 30 rose 5% to $A6.598 billion compared to the previous year.

AAP reports earnings from the bank's Australian retail and business banking units were higher than the previous year's, up 14 per cent to $2.1 billion as deposits and loans grew.

Other divisions of the bank posted more steady results, with St George's earnings flat compared to the previous year, at $A1.2 billion.

Chief executive Gail Kelly said credit growth would remain subdued in the year ahead, while savings are expected to continue to grow strongly, due to weak consumer sentiment.

"Volatility in global markets is likely to continue and as a result of the structural changes that are now occurring, both overseas and domestically, the operating environment will remain challenging," she said.

Impairment charges in the year to September were up 22% from the previous year to $A1.2 billion.

Chief financial officer Phil Coffey said the rise was due to more bad debts being written off.

Westpac declared a fully franked final dividend of 84 cents per share, up from 82 cents a year earlier.