Fortis Net Up 4% in 1st Half

August 28, 2001

Fortis, the Dutch-Belgian financial services group, announced that overall net operating profit rose 4 percent to €1.54 billion ($1.41 billion) during the first half of the year, helped by the sale of Fortis Financial Group to Hartford Financial Services and other one-time-only transactions.

The results exceeded analysts forecasts, and confirmed the successful implementation of cost cutting initiatives, particularly in Fortis’ banking activities. The company is in the process of integrating several acquisitions, and expects to continue to achieve further cost reductions and higher profitability.

Total gross premiums from Fortis insurance operations topped €12 billion ($10.98 billion), a 27 percent gain for the period, but net operating profit remained flat at €680 million ($622 million) mainly due to higher operating costs.

Fortis confirmed that it was on target to achieve a 12 percent increase in net operating profit per share, provided that economic conditions remained stable. It also refused to comment one way or another on speculation that a merger with Holland’s ABN AMRO was under consideration, but Chairman Anton van Rossum did indicate that Fortis expects to play a further role in the consolidation of the European financial services sector.

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