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Australia's Westpac posts 25 pct drop in profit

Associated Press Published: May 2, 2012

SYDNEY (AP) — Westpac Banking Corp., one of Australia's largest banks, has posted a 25 percent fall in first-half net profit.

The Sydney-based bank said in a statement Thursday that net profit for the six months to March 31 was 2.97 billion Australian dollars ($3.1 billion). That's down from AU$3.96 billion in the same period a year ago.

Last year's result was high largely due to one-off tax benefits from Westpac's acquisition of smaller rival St. George Bank in 2008.

Cash earnings for the first half were AU$3.2 billion. That's up 1 percent from the AU$3.17 billion posted in the previous corresponding period.

Impairment charges were up AU$145 million, or 31 percent, from the same period a year ago.