* Q1 cash profit A$1.53 bln vs A$1.49 bln yr ago
* Interest margins stable with pvs qtr
* Global mkts income up 26 pct
(Updates with details, comment)
SYDNEY, Feb 15 Australia and New Zealand Banking
Corp, the country's fourth-largest bank, posted a 6.2
percent rise in first quarter cash earnings on Friday as
favorable trading conditions and a rise in customers boosted its
global markets division.
Earnings were constrained by a weaker performance in the
bank's international and institutional banking business, where
it said margins remain under pressure, while the environment for
wealth management "remains subdued."
ANZ is trying to model itself on HSBC by turning
into a regional Asian lender, and is seeking to double earnings
from Asia to up to 30 percent of its total by 2017.
"Our strategy has seen us benefit from volume growth in Asia
and our exposure to these opportunities is an increasing
important part of the group's earnings with Greater China our
third largest source of profits after Australia and New
Zealand," Chief Executive Mike Smith said in a statement.
ANZ reported cash profit of A$1.53 billion ($1.58 billion),
compared with A$1.49 billion a year ago, amid soft economic
conditions in its current key markets of Australia and New
Group interest margins, a key measure of core bank profits,
were flat compared to the end of last financial year.
Analysts' forecasts were not available as the update was the
first time ANZ has reported cash profit, which excludes one-offs
and non-cash accounting items and is closely watched by
investors. It previously reported underlying profit.
The country's "Big Four" banks -- ANZ, National Australia
Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and
Westpac -- posted a combined record profit of more than
$25 billion in 2011/12, but growth slipped to a three-year low
as Australia came under pressure from slowing growth in China,
its major export market.
More recent signs suggest a resurgence in consumer
confidence in one of the few developed countries to avoid a
recession during the global financial crisis.
CBA, which reports on a different schedule to its "Big Four"
peers, on Wednesday posted a record A$3.58 billion first-half
profit and provided an upbeat outlook for the rest of the year.
ANZ is due to report first-half earnings on April 30,
followed by Westpac on May 3 and NAB on May 9.
GLOBAL MARKETS BOOST
ANZ's global markets income jumped 26 percent to A$544
million. Customer sales income increased 4 percent on quarterly
average for 2012, with the Australian business performing well
and the Asian business having its strongest ever customer sales
The bank said that while investment markets have improved,
business conditions for the sector remain challenging.
ANZ said its bad debt charges were in line with expectations
and there were no developments, including recent wild fires and
floods in Australia, that would materially change its guidance
for the year.
The bank said in October it expected higher provisions for
bad debts in the year to September 2013 as the Australian
economy cools. It booked a charge of A$1.25 billion last
Analysts expect the top four banks' bad-debt charges to rise
between 12 and 20 percent annually for the next two years.
ANZ said revenue growth reflected the constrained business
environment, with "reasonable" volume growth in Asia offset by
margin pressure in New Zealand and in the international and
institutional banking division.
($1 = 0.9655 Australian dollar)
(Reporting by Jane Wardell, editing by Lincoln Feast and Chizu