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ANZ on track to meet earnings forecast

ANZ on track to meet earnings forecast

(2 March 2004 – Australia) ANZ has said it is well placed to meet market expectations of delivering cash earnings per share growth of almost nine percent for FY 2004. The bank said this takes into account costs involved with the purchase of National Bank of New Zealand for $4.9 billion last year.

ANZ is due to elaborate on the NBNZ acquisition next month but said customer attribution had been "negligible" and that "no material financial or risk surprises" had been unearthed.

"The acquisition creates the leading banking franchise in all segments in New Zealand, which is an attractive low risk market, and improves the sustainability of the Group’s business mix," ANZ chief executive John McFarlane said.

He said it strengthened the bank’s capabilities in retail banking, rural banking and small to medium business.

"We continue to expect cost synergies from integration however our main focus continues to be customer retention, franchise development and growth," McFarlane said.

The bank said corporate and SME lending at the end of January 2004 was up by more than 20 percent on the same time last year.

"We are continuing to grow market share in the SME segment as we invest in growth initiatives such as increased geographic footprint, broker channels and new services such as specialist franchisee banking."

Institutional financial services, on the other hand, had been "relatively flat".

"Transaction Services is expected to improve from a subdued second half in 2003. While Institutional Banking is starting to see improved lending opportunities, the benefits are likely to be seen in the second half."
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