Queensland-based insurer and bank Suncorp has reported a 3.6 per cent rise in net profit to $1.075 billion for the 2017 financial year.
The increase in profit has allowed the financial firm to lift its total payments to shareholders for the financial year to 73 cents per share, up from 68 cents last year, with a final dividend of 40 cents.
The payout is just over 80 per cent of the bank’s cash earnings, and Suncorp says future dividends will target a 60-80 per cent level.
The driver of profit growth was insurance, where net profit surged 30 per cent to $753 million on the back of a 3.9 per cent increase in premiums sold.
The company did not fare as well in New Zealand, where the Kaikoura earthquake and additional claims related to the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquake pushed up costs and slashed profit by more than $100 million to $82 million.
Australian banking operations also struggled, with profit declining by $18 million to $400 million on a slight fall in the net interest margin — the gap between the rate the bank pays to borrow money and the rate it lends it out at — as well as a modest rise in business costs.