National Australia Bank posts 16 pct rise in half-year profit to $2.67 B, with cut in bad debt

SYDNEY – National Australia Bank Ltd., one of Australia’s biggest lenders, has posted a 16 per cent increase in half-year profit to 2.86 billion Australian dollars ($2.67 billion), helped by a reduction in bad debts and an improving British economy.

The statutory profit for the six months through March announced on Thursday is an increase of AU$390 million from the same period a year earlier.

Cash earnings increased by 8.5 per cent, or AU$247 million, to AU$3.15 billion in the latest half year.

The charge for bad debts across its Australian and British operations for the latest half year was AU$528 million — 37 per cent less than that for the previous six months and 52 per cent lower than for the corresponding period ending March 31, 2013.