* Annual profit beats co’s estimates
* Sets final dividend of A$3.35/share
* Co well-positioned in medium term – CEO (Recasts and updates throughout with results detail, outlook, CEO comments)
May 7 (Reuters) – Australia’s Macquarie Group Ltd posted a record annual profit on Friday, beating its own forecast, after its commodities trading unit benefited from volatile trading and surging electricity prices amid power blackouts in U.S. winter storms.
The financial conglomerate, which is the second-biggest gas marketer in North America behind oil major BP, lifted its dividend 86% on the back of the strong result.
Profit attributable for the year ended March 31 rose 10.6% to a record A$3.02 billion ($2.35 billion). That was above the top end of the company’s forecast range of a rise of 5-10%.
Australia’s largest investment bank and asset manager “remains well-positioned to deliver superior performance in the medium term,” Chief Executive Shemara Wikramanayake said.
However, the Sydney-based firm said it was maintaining a “cautious stance with a conservative approach to capital, funding and liquidity” in relation to the coronavirus pandemic and a potential global economic recovery.
Macquarie declared a final dividend of A$3.35 per share, compared with A$1.80 per share last year.
Earnings from its commodities and global markets (CGM) business soared 50% to A$2.60 billion, even as profits at its other divisions either fell or were roughly flat.
Nearly two weeks of frigid temperatures in February triggered widespread blackouts in Texas and other U.S. states, but resulted in an unexpected windfall for Macquarie as electricity prices surged in the de-regulated market. ($1=1.2852 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Arundhati Dutta in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath and Jane Wardell)