Australia’s Westpac FY18 Profit Edges Up

Westpac Banking Corp. (WBC.AX, WBK) reported Monday that its fiscal year 2018 net profit grew 1 percent from last year to A$8.095 billion. Earnings per ordinary share were 237.5 cents, down from 238 cents a year ago.

Cash earnings were A$8.065 billion, compared to A$8.062 billion a year ago. Cash earnings per share were 236.2 cents, down 1%.

Core earnings were A$12.37 billion, down 1 percent from A$12.45 billion a year ago.

Net operating income grew 2 percent to A$21.95 billion. Net interest income grew 4 percent to A$16.34 billion from last year’s A$15.70 billion. Non-interest income dropped 4 percent.

Net interest margin was 2.13%, up from 2.06% last year.

Further, the Westpac Board has determined an unchanged, final, fully franked dividend of 94 cents per share to be paid on 20 December 2018. Total dividends for 2018 were 188 cents per share representing a payout ratio of 80% of cash earnings.

Looking ahead, the company said the outlook for the Australian economy remains positive, although there are likely to be economic headwinds in 2019, with GDP growth expected to moderate to around 2.7%. The company expects that consumers are likely to be more cautious in the face of flat wages growth and a soft housing market, while uncertainty ahead of a Federal election and a less favourable international backdrop are likely to weigh on business investment decisions.

Westpac Group CEO Brian Hartzer said, “We have lifted our productivity target for next year to $400 million as we continue to simplify our products, digitise our business, and modernise our platforms.”