SYDNEY Feb 7 National Australia Bank,
the country's top lender by assets, said its first-quarter cash
earnings rose by about 4 percent, boosted by rising revenues and
a fall in bad debts.
NAB, which has been hamstrung by the poor performance of its
UK operations, posted an unaudited cash profit of A$1.45 billion
($1.50 billion) compared with A$1.4 billion a year ago.
"This is a pleasing result, especially given operating
conditions remain challenging in both Australia and the UK,
notwithstanding recent improvements in financial markets," Chief
Executive Cameron Clyne said in a statement.
The bank said its charge for bad and doubtful debts, an area
of concern for the industry in late 2012, had fallen about 10
percent to A$554 million. Revenues rose 3 percent, boosted by
its wholesale banking division and bigger customer margins.
Its core tier-one capital ratio on a Basel II basis was 8.39
NAB shares closed at A$28.11 on Wednesday, just short of a
near two-year high hit this week.
($1 = 0.9691 Australian dollars)
(Reporting by Lincoln Feast; Editing by John Mair)