April 30 (Reuters) - Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd deferred a decision on its interim dividend and posted a 60.3% fall in first-half cash profit on Thursday, as provisions for bad loans rose due to economic challenges triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.
Australia’s fourth-largest bank said it will provide an update on its interim dividend in August. Six analysts polled by Reuters had forecast a dividend of 38 Australian cents per share, compared to a payout of 80 Australian cents last year.
Cash profit, which excludes one-offs and non-cash accounting items, was A$1.41 billion for the six months ended March 31, compared with A$3.56 billion a year earlier. It missed an estimate of A$2.30 billion by 7 analysts from a Reuters poll. (Reporting by Shriya Ramakrishnan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)