Macquarie sees FY14 profit up 40-45 pct

SYDNEY, March 24 Sun Mar 23, 2014 8:16pm EDT

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SYDNEY, March 24 (Reuters) - Macquarie Group Ltd, Australia's top investment bank, on Monday said it expected a 40 percent to 45 percent rise in annual profit for the year to March 31, sending its shares up as much as 3.9 percent.

The forecast is in line with comments made last month that Macquarie's profit was on track to exceed A$1 billion ($908.95 million) for the first time in four years as its focus on growing lower-risk businesses pays off.

Improved market conditions have helped the bank's fixed income, currency and commodities (FICC) business, it said in a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange.

Macquarie expects the FICC business to be broadly in line, or slightly up, compared with a year ago.

"We are seeing the ongoing benefits of continued cost initiatives, our balance sheet is strong and conservative, and we have a proven risk management framework and culture," the bank said.

The earnings forecast was part of an investor presentation scheduled for later this week.

At 1151 GMT, shares of the bank were up 3.34 percent at A$56.67 a share in a weak Australia market.

($1 = 1.1002 Australian Dollars) (Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Stephen Coates)

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