Australia's Westpac cuts dividend, annual cash earnings drop 62%

Nov 2 (Reuters) - Westpac Banking Corp on Monday slashed its annual dividend and reported a 62% plunge in cash earnings due to write-downs and a record A$1.3 billion fine over a money-laundering case.

Australia’s second-largest lender reported cash earnings of A$2.61 billion ($1.8 billion) for the year ended Sept. 30, significantly lower than A$6.85 billion reported a year ago.

The figure, however, beat an average estimate of A$2.49 billion, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

Westpac declared a final dividend of 31 cents per share, compared with 80 cents it paid last year. ($1 = 1.4231 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Shashwat Awasthi and Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)