Improved profit forecast for Australian bank

2 March 2007

Australian bank Macquarie has announced better than anticipated second-half profit forecasts.

The bank, which is Australia's largest securities firm, expects second-half profits of $500 million, which represents a 47 per cent rise from initial predictions at the start of February.

Macquarie had said it expected profits - excluding the $72 million profits from the company's sale of Macquarie Goodman Group - to be up from the same period last year, but to show a slight downturn from the first-half profits this year.

Commenting on the improved profit projections Macquarie deputy managing director Richard Sheppard said: "If this is achieved it means the full year result for the year ended March, 2007 would be up at least 50 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

"The swing factors that could still affect the final result include trading conditions and volumes during March, and the outcome of transactions across the Bank’s businesses," he added.

The bank is currently heading up a group to buy out Australia's flagship airline Qantas Airways for $8.7 billion.

Last year Macquarie posted annual profits of $340 million.

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