Asia-focused ANZ reports record annual net profit of $8.24 billion

SYDNEY (AFP) - The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) on Friday announced a record annual net profit of A$7.3 billion (S$8.24 billion) - up 15 per cent - pursuing an Asia-focused growth strategy.

Cash profit, which strips out non-core items and is favoured by analysts, was up 10 per cent to A$7.10 billion.

The results for ANZ, one of Australia's four major banks, were roughly in line with guidance.

"This is another good performance that demonstrates consistent execution of our super regional strategy which is positioning ANZ well in a more constrained operating environment," said chief executive Mike Smith.

"We made progress in all our key markets." ANZ's lucrative international and institutional banking (IIB) unit performed strongly.

"The result also saw continued momentum from our international business in Asia Pacific, Europe and America which now accounts for 24 per cent of Group revenues," Smith said.

Cash profit from Asia increased 25 per cent and revenue 10 per cent. Revenue has grown strongly over the past five years with a compound annual growth rate of 23 per cent.

"With the phase of high investment in Asia largely complete, we are seeing a greater share of Asia-led revenue growth translate to profit," Smith said.

He noted however that "the macro drivers of growth in the sector are slowing and the environment is looking more challenging".

ANZ had targeted for 25-30 per cent of earnings to come from outside Australia and New Zealand - mainly Asia - by 2017.