ANZ Bank New Zealand's UDC finance unit has posted a record annual profit, driven by booming car sales and strong growth in forestry, transport and construction.
Net profit rose 3% to $58.5 million in the year to September 30, though ANZ said revenue was hit by a fall in the interest margin it could achieve, dropping 1%. No revenue figure was given by ANZ and full accounts have not been published, with the only details available a one-page statement, but a 1% decline from the previous year's $122 million suggests revenue was around $120.8 million for the year.
The Auckland-based lender has been subject to intense speculation that it will be sold. The chief executive of Heartland Bank, Jeff Greenslade, last month told investors he believe UDC would be an "ideal fit."
Wayne Percival, UDC's chief executive, said the company had looked to help businesses take advantage of the strong economic growth in New Zealand.
"The housing and infrastructure build across New Zealand, along with record new car sales, created robust demand for our asset financing expertise, and drove the good result for our business," he said.
Strong competition among banks for quality lending and deposits had put pressure on margins, he added.
Provisions for bad debts fell 29% to $7.4 million.
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