SYDNEY May 3 Macquarie Group Ltd <MQG.AX<,
Australia's top investment bank, beat forecasts with a 17
percent rise in full-year profit as cost cutting and strength in
its annuity-style businesses outweighed lingering weakness in
Macquarie, which has been shifting its focus from its
traditional but riskier banking products to businesses such as
unlisted funds, retail banking and leasing, posted a full-year
net profit of A$851 million ($872.15 million) versus A$730
million a year ago.
Analysts have scaled back forecasts since February, when
Macquarie said its full-year net profit would rise about 10
percent, due to subdued client activity in areas such as equity
capital markets and derivatives.
The average forecast was for a net profit of about A$818
million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S, about A$20
million lower than in February and down from early expectations
for a 2013 net profit of more than A$1 billion.
Macquarie said it would pay a final dividend of A$1.25 per
share, taking full-year payouts to A$2 per share, and resolved
to pay out 60 to 80 percent of earnings in dividends.($1 =
0.9758 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Gary Hill)