May 2 (Reuters) - National Australia Bank Ltd posted a 7 percent rise in first-half cash profit on Thursday, but cut its dividend as the country’s fourth-largest lender grapples with rising costs of compensating customers.
Cash earnings came in at A$2.95 billion ($2.07 billion) for the six months ended March 31, compared with A$2.76 billion a year earlier. The result was slightly below a Reuters poll of seven analysts, who forecast A$3 billion.
NAB, which has maintained a dividend of 99 Australian cents per share for every six months since 2014, cut its interim dividend to 83 Australian cents per share.
The cut, its first since 2009, reduces the company’s relatively high payout ratio compared to its three larger peers. ($1 = 1.4253 Australian dollars)
Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Stephen Coates