The Netherlands ING Group reported a 0.4 percent increase in net profit for the first quarter of 2002 compared to the same period in 2001, to €1.136 billion ($1.05 billion), the figure also represents a 19.8 percent increase over the fourth quarter of 2001.
ING cited effective cost controls and several favorable tax provisions as boosting its net. It also saw its net profit from insurance operations grow 15.6 percent in the quarter to € 787 million ($724 million) “thanks mainly to better performance in the Netherlands and North America.”
While insurance income was on the rise, the results from ING’s banking operations showed a 22.4 percent decrease during then period to € 349 million ($322 million). Higher interest payments were “more than offset by lower commission income, lower other income and a strong increase in the addition to the loan loss provision U.S. $990 million/EUR 1,136 million.”
“With several integration and restructuring projects fully on track, total income growing, and tight cost control resulting in lower total operating expenses, ING is making good progress to deliver the performance improvement that we promised our shareholders,” stated ING Executive Board Chairman Ewald Kist. The company hasn’t given a full year earnings estimate, but has indicated it expects earnings per share to exceed 2001’s € 2.20 ($2.03).
ING Americas Group contributed 24 percent to ING Group’s quarterly pre-tax income, posting pre-tax results of $320 million compared to $254 million in the first quarter of 2001. “Major integration activities in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Chile, and continued cost controls have resulted in expense reductions and have advanced ING Americas’ overall integration objectives,” said the announcement.
The results might have been even better, except for operations in Argentina, where ING acknowledged that, “Argentina’s economic crisis continues to be watched closely although the financial risk of the insurance operations is limited.”
ING also recently closed a deal to strengthen its operations in Brazil by increasing its partnership interest in Sul America S.A., one of Brazil’s largest insurers to 49 percent.
Glenn Hilliard, chairman and CEO of ING Americas noted that while the Q1 were results were gratifying, “we remain cautious about market and economic recovery throughout the Americas,” He expressed confidence in ING’s business plan for the region and was optimistic that” we will be well positioned for competitive advantage when the economy does improve.”|”ing, q1, net, up, slightly, on, strong, insurance, sales
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