By Alice Uribe

SYDNEY--Westpac said its first-half net profit fell by 16%, but said it would return more capital to shareholders through an increased dividend and bigger share buyback.

The Australian bank said its net profit totaled 3.34 billion Australian dollars (US$2.21 billion) in the six months through March. Consensus forecasts compiled by FactSet projected Westpac's first-half profit would be A$3.44 billion.

Directors of the company declared an ordinary half-year dividend of A$0.75 per share, up from A$0.70 last year. On top of that, Westpac said it would pay a special dividend worth A$0.15 a share and raise its share buyback to A$2.5 billion, from A$1.5 billion.

Write to Alice Uribe at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

05-05-24 1814ET