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SYDNEY May 1 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd posted a 15 percent rise in half-year net profit, slightly ahead of analysts' expectations on strong growth in its Asia business and a drop in bad debts.
Australia's third-biggest lender said on Thursday net profit rose to A$3.4 billion ($3.15 billion) for the six months to the end of March. That compared with A$2.9 billion a year ago and analysts' expectations of A$3.48 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.
Cash profit, a measure closely watched by industry analysts, rose 11 percent to A$3.5 billion. ($1 = 1.0793 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Swati Pandey)