Why Westpac’s (ASX:WBC) first-half cash profit rose 256%

Summary

  • Westpac Banking Corporation enjoyed a stellar first half of 2021 on the back of continued economic recovery in Australia and New Zealand.
  • The statutory net profit was recorded at AU$3,443 million, up 189%, in the given period.
  • The Australian bank and financial services provider also reinstated its interim dividend after posting stellar earnings.

Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC) on Monday announced a better-than-expected cash profit in the first half of 2021 on due to continued economic recovery in Australia and New Zealand. The Australian bank and financial services provider also reinstated its interim dividend after posting stellar earnings.

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Key highlights

  • Statutory net profit AU$3,443 million, up 189%
  • Cash earnings AU$3,537 million, up 256%
  • Cash EPS 97 cents, more than tripled
  • NIM 2.09%, down 4 bps
  • ROE 10.2%, up from 2.9%
  • CET1 capital ratio 12.34%, up 153 bps
  • Excluding notable items, cash earnings, AU$3,819 million, up 60%
  • Excluding notable items, ROE 11.0%, up 394 bps

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The board of Westpac announced an interim dividend of 58 cents a share. It is the bank’s first interim dividend since 2019 when it paid a 94 cents distribution.

Company statement

Commenting on the financial results, Westpac chief executive Peter King said that it was a strong start to the year with increased cash earnings, growth in mortgages and continued balance sheet strength.

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First half earnings were considerably higher than the prior corresponding period, mainly due to an impairment benefit reflecting improved asset quality and a better economic outlook. Notable items were also lower, King said.

The company’s Australian mortgage book increased AU$2.6 billion over the past six months, with good growth in owner occupier loans partly offset by lower investor lending, he said.

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Stock performance

On Friday, 30 April 2021, the stock of Westpac closed at AU$24.98, down 0.20 points, or 0.83% as against the previous closing on Thursday, 29 April 2021. The stock has given a return of nearly 27.25% so far this year. Westpac competes with Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX:CBA), Netwealth Group Ltd (ASX:NWL), Hub24 Ltd (ASX:HUB), AUB Group Ltd  (ASX:AUB), Janus Henderson Group plc (ASX: JHG), and National Australia Bank (ASX:NAB) in the financial sector.


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