NATIONAL Australia Bank has held its final dividend unchanged at 99 cents after lifting full-year cash earnings 4.2 per cent to $6.48 billion.
Some analysts had suggested NAB could cut its shareholder payout to bolster capital in the wake of the loss of income due to the recent sale of 80 per cent of its life insurance business.
But NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn said the bank’s capital position meant the lender was comfortable maintaining the same 99 cent dividend the lender paid out a year ago and at the half-year.
The life insurance sale and the big loss recorded against the sale of Clydesdale Bank in the UK dragged the bank’s statutory net profit down 94.4 per cent to $352 million.
“These changes have been achieved while delivering an improved operating performance and maintaining a strong balance sheet, sound asset quality and tight control of costs,” Mr Thorburn said.
“This is against a backdrop of favourable Australian and New Zealand economic conditions, but also rising funding costs and global uncertainty.”
Bad and doubtful debt charges rose 7.0 per cent to $800 million, expenses rose 2.2 per cent and net interest margin declined two basis points to 1.88 per cent mostly due to higher funding costs.
NAB’S FY FIGURES
* Cash earnings up 4.2pct to $6.48b
* Profit down 94.4pct to $352m
* Final dividend unchanged at 99 cents, fully franked