Australia’s second-largest lender reported cash earnings fell to $993 million for the six months ended March 31, from $3.30 billion a year earlier.
Net profit was down 62 per cent to $1.19 billion.
This follows its announcement last week of a $1.6 billion impairment charge for potential loan defaults due to the COVID-19 related shutdown.
It has also provisioned $900 million for a potential legal penalty from AUSTRAC proceedings related to breaches of anti-money laundering laws.
“This is the most difficult result Westpac has seen in many years. It is significantly impacted by higher impairment charges due to COVID-19, as well as notable items including the AUSTRAC provision,” Westpac Group chief executive Peter King said in a statement.
“In light of the changed economic outlook we have increased Westpac’s provisions for expected credit losses to $5.8 billion, which includes approximately $1.6 billion of additional impairment charges predominantly related to COVID-19 impacts,” he said.
Westpac joins smaller rival ANZ in holding off paying shareholders an interim dividend after that lender also posted a 62 per cent slide in its first-half cash profit due to the COVID-19 hit.
Westpac had paid a fully franked interim dividend of 94 cents a share a year ago.
Want to comment?
Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.
We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts
Local News Matters
Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.