* FY net profit A$851 mln vs A$730 mln yr ago
* Final div A$1.25 per share
* Expects FY14 net profit up on FY13
* Shares soar 10 percent
(Adds shares, comment, details)
SYDNEY, May 3 Macquarie Group Ltd,
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 offset lingering weakness in
Macquarie also said profits for the next financial year
would likely improve, helping its shares rise as much as 12
percent, hitting a three-year high of A$43.64. They last traded
up 9.8 percent at A$42.70 at 0013 GMT.
"The FY14 result for the Group is expected to be an
improvement on FY13 provided market conditions for FY14 are not
worse than those experienced over the past 12 months," the
company said in a statement.
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) on Friday versus
A$730 million a year ago.
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 made analysts forecasts than in February.
Analysts had 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, mergers and acquisitions and derivatives.
"They (numbers) do look quite impressive. It does show that
investment banking, and obviously wealth management, is
obviously increasing," said Evan Lucas, an analyst with IG in
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.
"Global market conditions generally improved during the year
to 31 March 2013 which, together with strong cost control across
the group, led to the improved result," Macquarie's managing
director and chief executive Nicholas Moore said in a statement.
Client activity remained subdued for Macquarie's capital
markets facing businesses, but its annuity-style businesses
continued to perform well, Moore said.
The hike in dividend would make the market happy, with
investors keen to chase yield, Lucas added.
"Their full year dividend is going to be A$2, which is a 43
percent jump on last year. Again good numbers for what the
market wants particularly," he said.
The stock has risen by almost a third in the past year,
double the gains in the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index, but
have underperformed a recent rally in commercial banks that
drove the market to a six-year high this week.
($1 = 0.9758 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast and Maggie Lu Yueyang; Editing by