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Suncorp posts 3.6% increase in full-year net profit, raises dividend

Suncorp Group Ltd.'s full-year net profit rose 3.6% year over year, thanks to higher profit from its Australian insurance business.

Net profit after tax for the year ended June 30 rose to A$1.08 billion, or 82.55 cents per share, from A$1.04 billion, or 79.59 cents, in the prior-year period. Cash earnings increased 5.1% to A$1.15 billion from A$1.09 billion.

Suncorp's Australian insurance business delivered a net profit after tax of A$723 million, up from A$558 million in the year-ago period, driven by higher growth, lower natural hazard costs and the continued remediation of claims cost issues in the home and motor portfolios. Meanwhile, profit from the New Zealand insurance business plunged to A$82 million from A$183 million due to claims costs associated with the Kaikoura earthquake and the associated reinsurance reinstatement expense.

The group's insurance premium income came in at A$10.34 billion, compared to A$9.90 billion in the previous-year period.

The banking and wealth business contributed a net profit after tax of A$400 million, down from A$418 million a year ago. Net interest income from the business remained unchanged at A$1.13 billion over the same period. The net interest margin stood at 1.83%, up from 1.78% in the first half ended Dec. 31, 2016, but down from 1.86% in the full-year ended June 2016.

The group's common equity Tier 1 ratio came in at 9.23%, up from 9.20% as of the end of December 2016 and 9.21% as of the end of June 2016.

The group declared a final ordinary dividend of 40 cents per share, up from the prior-year final dividend of 38 cents per share. Together with an interim dividend of 33 cents per share, the group's total dividend amounted to 73 cents per share, up from a total dividend of 68 cents per share a year ago.

The dividend is fully franked and will be paid Sept. 20.

As of Aug. 2, US$1 was equivalent to A$1.25.