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ASIC Half Yearly Accounts/media release

Document date:  Wed 05 May 1999
Published:  Wed 05 May 1999 00:00:00
Document No:  148215
Document part:  A
Market Flag:  N
Classification: 

HOMEX - Melbourne                                                     

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FIRST HALF EARNINGS $716 MILLION

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) today reported
an operating profit after tax of $716 million for the half-year ended
31 March 1999, compared with $625 million for the half-year ended 31
March 1998.

Earnings per share grew by 8% to 44.7 cents over the same period. The
interim dividend will be 26 cents, up 8% from 24 cents per share.
Franking has been increased to 75% from 60%, and ANZ expects to
maintain this level of franking for the year as a whole. There were
no abnormal items.

ANZ Chairman, Mr Charles Goode, commented: "This is a good result.
Management and staff have achieved this profit growth notwithstanding
the loss of earnings from discontinued businesses and the substantial
reductions in selected assets in order to reduce risk. Costs were
down, bringing the cost to income ratio to 55.8%, and specific
provisions were contained within the economic loss provision. We are
expecting an even stronger second half."

We have also built a very strong capital base, with a Tier 1 capital
ratio at 7.7%. This provides us with the flexibility either to
advance our core businesses through acquisition, or to return capital
to shareholders," Mr Goode said.

Chief Executive Officer, Mr John McFarlane, said: "A strategic review
of our businesses has given us a clear sense of direction for ANZ for
the future. In particular, ANZ will:

   Accelerate growth in our personal financial services businesses,
   particularly funds management by harnessing our distribution power.

   Build on our strong market position in the corporate sector to grow
   fee-based services, continue to reduce risk and improve return on
   assets.

   Simplify our international network to improve returns by focusing 
   on Asia and the Pacific, by continuing to reduce risk and by 
   selectively investing in growth franchises.

   Swiftly build a leading e-commerce presence.

   Continue to drive down costs, lower risk and improve capital
   efficiency.

Through this strategy we will deliver superior performance and value
to our shareholders."

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