Macquarie shuns guidance after profit drop

Macquarie Group has reported a 32 per cent dive in half-year profit after the impact of the coronavirus caused the bank to write down the value of assets such as its aircraft leasing operations.

The bank’s $985 million net profit for the six months to September 30 was a reduced one due to $447 million in credit and write-down charges, as a result of the pandemic.

Macquarie’s commodities and markets trading bore the brunt of the COVID-19 downturn, and had write-downs of $134 million.

There were also write-downs for the aircraft in the AirFinance business, and more money was set aside for loans that may not be repaid.

Macquarie declined to give earnings guidance, due to the uncertain speed of economic recovery from the pandemic.

Chief executive Shemara Wikramanayake said while COVID-19’s economic impact continued to be felt in the short term, Macquarie was well-positioned for the medium term.

The interim dividend was $1.35 per share, 40 per cent franked, and is lower from $2.50 per share, 40 per cent franked, this time last year.

UBS analyst Jonathan Mott noted Macquarie’s 32 per cent decline in profit was better than guidance of 35 per cent.

He said the group produced a mixed result in a difficult environment.

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