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BankWest earnings rise

BANKWEST’S net profit has risen by 17.1 per cent and dividends per share are up 9.1 per cent.

At the bank’s annual general meeting, chairman Ian McKenzie said earnings per share had also risen 12.9 per cent.

Mr McKenzie said the bank had generated strong growth in both deposits and lending – particularly in the eastern States – and had reduced its cost-to-income ratio.

At the meeting, the top five issues raised by shareholders were:

l The size and composition of the board;

l The performance of BankWest shares;

l Dividend policy;

l Ownership of the bank, including the issue of whether or not the Bank of Scotland would sell its shareholding; and

l The design of the annual report.

Mr McKenzie moved to scotch rumours that the Bank of Scotland would sell its 55 per cent share in BankWest.

“The directors assessed a number of proposals. Ultimately the board concluded and advised the bank of Scotland that there were no proposals it felt should be recommended as representing fair value to all shareholders,” Mr McKenzie said.

“The directors would like to see BankWest continue as an independent bank but ownership is a shareholder matter.”

Mr McKenzie said the BankWest board now had 12 members,

following the retirement of Bank of Scotland representative Fraser Campbell.

He said the bank’s dividends had moved with earnings per share over the past four years and the payout ratio had been maintained around 70 per cent for the past two years.

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