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Financial services group Heartland New Zealand, aspiring to become a bank, has tripled its full-year net profit to $23.6 million.
The result for the year to June 30 is up $16.5 million from $7.1 million the previous year, boosted by the acquisition of PGG Wrightson's loan book.
Most of that ($14.7 million) was earned in the second half of the year as the lender improved margins and reduced costs.
The result was also boosted by a one-off $3.4 million tax benefit relating to historic tax losses of Marac Finance – in addition to a previously reported one-off deferred tax benefit of $6.2 million.
Heartland, formed from the merger of Pyne Gould's Marac Finance with the Canterbury and Southern Cross building societies, expects to get the decision from the Reserve Bank in on whether it can have a banking licence in November..
Earnings of $20.2 million was in line with revenue guidance of $20 million to $22 million.
Net operating income grew by $3.7 million to $21 million and the lender says the current lending pipeline looks strong, with growth expected to continue into the the next financial year.
The lender's receivables book grew by $63.9 million to $540.2 million during the year.
And the rural loan book worth $478.6 million (the bulk of which came from the PGG Wrightson acquisition), has recorded a profit of $12.6 million on net interest income of $19.1 million.
"Whilst trading conditions remain challenging given economic conditions generally, Heartland expects a continual improvement in underlying performance in the year ahead," the company said in a statement to the NZX.
No dividend will be paid. Heartland’s dividend policy will be outlined at the annual general meeting on November 2.