ING Reports 2% Decrease in 1st Half Operational Net to $2.347 Billion

Holland’s ING Group surprised analysts yesterday when it released its first half results. Although operational net profit declined by 2 percent, most forecasts had expected even more negative figures.

ING earned €2.354 billion ($2.347 billion) from operations and registered an increase in overall net profit of 4 percent to to $€2.837 billion ($2.829 billion) for the period. The Group said that “Total income grew 11.9 percent in the first half, while restructuring, integration and strict cost control helped keep growth in total operating expenses to 2.7 percent (with a decrease in organic operating expenses of 0.8 percent).”

It added that “Solvency level remains very good, with the insurance arm at more than 160 percent of the legally required level.” Ewald Kist, chairman of ING’s Executive Board stated that “Given the tough economic climate in the first half of 2002, I consider our result for this period satisfactory.”

The company released figures showing that is operational net profit from insurance grew 13.0 percent to €1.653 billion ($1.648 billion), while operational net profit from banking operations declined 25.4 percent to U.S. $699 million. Assets under management also decreased by 6.5 percent to $478.3 billion.

The comparatively good news was welcomed by analysts, who had feared the company might experience a more substantial drop in earning.

The company maintained its full year forecast that it would exceed last year’s operational net profit per share of $2.19, “provided economic conditions and financial markets do not deteriorate further.”