The Netherlands ING Group reported a significant rise in nearly all business sectors. Operating profits at the banking, insurance and financial services giant rose by 33.1 percent to 4.008 billion euros ($5.2 billion).
Other highlights recorded during the period include the following:
– Net profit rose 47.6 percent to 4.437 billion euros ($5.76 billion), or 2.10 euros ($2.753) per share.
– Operating net profit from banking rose 60.4 percent to 1.928 billion euros ($2.57 billion).
– Operating net profit from insurance rose 14.9 percent to 2.08 billion ($2.7 billion).
– Debt/equity ratio of ING Group improved to 11.4 percent from 14.4 percent at end 2003.
– RAROC banking increased to 22.1percent; IRR on new life insurance business was up 11.9 percent.
– Value of new life insurance business increased 41.2 percent to 466 million euros ($605 million).
– Third-quarter net profit rose 63.2 percent to 1.594 billion ($2.07 billion), or 74 euro cents (96 cents) per share.
Michel Tilmant, chairman of the executive board, commented: “Results in the third quarter were satisfying. Excluding one-off items, we saw a 22.1 percent increase in operating net profit compared with the third quarter last year. Premium income showed solid growth at higher margins, resulting in an increase in the value of new business at our life insurance operations. Risk costs at the bank continued to fall and ING Direct posted a strong increase in operating profit.
“In the first nine months of this year, we have also taken important steps to actively manage our portfolio of businesses. We have sold the Asian cash equities business, our Australian non-life insurance joint venture, the Dutch health insurance business, and CenE Bankiers in the Netherlands. We reached agreements to sell our life insurance operations in Argentina and to exit the individual life reinsurance business in the US We also have reached an agreement in principle about the sale of ING BHF-Bank in Germany. Last week we also announced an initial public offering of our Canadian non-life business. We expect to be able to complete this phase of our portfolio management strategy next year.
“Cash proceeds from the divestments will be used to reduce debt and further improve ING Group’s debt/equity ratio, while reduced capital requirements as a result of disposals will further strengthen ING’s solvency ratios. Economic capital released from under-performing or non-core units can then be reinvested to support the growth of more profitable businesses.”
“Underlying profit developments of our core businesses have continued to be strong in the first nine months. We saw top-line growth in both banking and insurance, and we continue to focus on containing our operating expenses. As a result, ING remains confident about its full-year results for 2004.”
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