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NAB announces profits amid restructuring

Australia's largest lender, National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced an 11.4 per cent increase in net cash profits, bringing in $1.42 billion over the last six months.

The bank has credited a significant growth in the demand for business loans from companies, along with cost saving measures, for the rise in cash profits.

However, the cash profit figures ignore one-off items and accounting adjustments, which, if included, show a headline profit fall of 27.7 per cent to $1.54 billion compared with $2.13 billion for the same six-month period a year ago.

The results come over half way through a NAB's major restructuring programme, which was introduced following the massive foreign exchange trading scandal that rocked the bank in 2004, exposing widespread flaws in its management structures.

Instigated by NAB chief executive John Stewart following his appointment in 2004, the restructuring programme is set to cost some $1.9 billion, with the hope of improving property and technology infrastructure, meeting regulatory compliance needs and increasing revenue.

However, Mr Stewart warned that there was still much to be done.

"If you think the turnaround is finished, you're wrong," he told reporters.

"We've got at least another year but what we're saying is so far, so good. There is a lot of shareholder value that will come out as we keep improving."