Why profits just crashed at Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

The shares of banking giant Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) will be on watch today following the announcement of its full year results.

For the year ended September 30 2016 ANZ reported a cash profit of $5.9 billion, down 18% on last year’s result. On a per share basis this came in at 202.6 cents per share, down from 260.3 cents per share a year earlier.

However cash profit was only down 3% to $7 billion when adjusted for specified items related to reshaping the company to position it for improved performance in future years.

Although analysts had previously forecast full year cash profit of $6.2 billion, the decision the bank made last week to book $360 million worth of charges against its full year profits was always going to make that unlikely. For this reason I don’t expect the result will have come as a shock to the market.

Positively ANZ once again finished the year with a common equity tier 1(CET1) ratio of 9.6%, driven by organic capital generation of 106 basis points in the half. If the bank can keep its CET1 ratio at this level moving forward then I don’t believe there will be any need for further cuts to its dividend.

As expected ANZ declared a final dividend of 80 cents per share. This brought the full year dividend to a fully franked 160 cents per share, equating to a generous 5.9% yield.

Whilst a lot of focus has been on the reshaping of its Asia business this week. Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott revealed that there may be changes here in Australia as well.

A strategic review into its Australian and New Zealand Wealth businesses concluded that whilst the distribution of wealth products and services is a core component of the bank’s overall customer proposition, it doesn’t need to manufacture Life and Investment products.

As a result the bank is looking into the possible sale of its Australian life insurance, advice, and investment businesses.

According to the release, ANZ will pursue a disciplined approach to this process and plans to update the market as appropriate. The New Zealand Wealth business will be considered separately during FY 2017.

It is still early days in ANZ’s radical transformation, but I believe the simplification of its business will make it stronger in the long run.

I think that ANZ is up there with Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) as one of the best investment options in the banking sector, especially with its strong dividend.

However considering the state of the markets at the moment due to U.S. election uncertainty, I would suggest investors hold off making an investment until the volatility subsides.

Alternatively you are interested in quality dividend shares but not from the banks, then I would recommend this top dividend share instead. A strong yield and potential share price gains make this a great investment idea in my opinion.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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