Suncorp is focused on growing its insurance and banking operations after its annual profit was weighed down for the last time by its exposure to bad loans.
The financial services firm made a net profit of $491 million in the 2012/13 financial year, a drop of 32 per cent from $724 million in the previous year.
The result included a $632 million loss from what the company calls its `non-core bank’ – a portfolio of commercial loans that have weighed on the company due to the impact of the global financial crisis.
Suncorp sold off the last of those loans to Goldman Sachs in July.
The group’s profit from operations excluding the non-core bank was $1.23 billion, up 19 per cent from the previous year.
Profit from Suncorp’s general insurance division, which owns brands including AAMI, GIO, Apia and Shannons, almost doubled to $883 million, as the volume of policies it wrote increased.
Suncorp bank made a profit of $289 million, the same as in the previous year.
Its life insurance business was hit by increased discount rates, and its profit of $60 million was down from $251 million in the previous year.
Chief executive Patrick Snowball said the year had been a major turning point for the company.
“Everyone at Suncorp is now firmly focused on the future and driving value from our core franchise,” he said.
Morningstar analyst David Ellis said he expects Suncorp’s continued cost savings will help to deliver future profit growth.
“The sale of the non-core bank is a relief and enables the group to focus on the profitable core businesses,” he said.
Suncorp will pay its shareholders a final dividend of 30 cents per share, and a special dividend of 20 cents per share.
Its shares gained 19 cents, or 1.5 per cent, to $12.60.