SYDNEY, Oct 25 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Corp said second half underlying profit rose 7.4 percent, beating expectations on tighter costs and Asian expansion and taking full-year earnings to a record for a third-straight year.
ANZ, which wants to earn a third of its annual profit in Asia by 2017 as growth in Australia slows, reported underlying second-half profit of A$3.04 billion, compared with A$2.83 billion a year ago and A$2.95 billion expected by analysts.
Full-year underlying profit, which excludes one-offs, non-cash accounting items and investment gains or losses, was a record A$6.01 billion.
Australian banks are expected to post a combined profit of more than $25 billion in 2011/12, marking a third straight year of record profits. But profit growth has slipped to a three-year low due to weak loan demand, while bad debts are set to rise as the economy cools. (Reporting by Narayanan Somasundaram; Editing by John Mair; Editing by Richard Pullin)