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ANZ Bank posts 7 percent half-year profit rise

SYDNEY (AP) -- One of Australia's largest banks, ANZ Banking Group Ltd., has posted a 7 percent rise in half year statutory profit after tax to 2.9 billion Australian dollars ($3 billion).

Underlying cash profit announced Tuesday for the six months to March 31, the bank's preferred measurement, jumped 10 percent to AU$3.2 billion, slightly above expectations.

The interim dividend of AU73 cents, fully-franked, was up 11 percent on the same half a year ago.

The bank said in a statement earnings diversification was improving, with 20 percent of revenue derived from outside Australia and New Zealand.

Australian banks proved resilient against the global economic downturn and remain among a handful of banks in the world to maintain an AA credit rating.