Fortis 1st Half Net Profit Falls 18% to $1.49 Billion

Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch insurance and financial services group, posted an 18 percent decline in net profits to €1.52 billion ($1.49 billion), compared to €1.85 billion ($1.82 billion) in the 1st half of 2001.

Operating profits fell by 4 percent for the period from €1.54 billion ($1.51 billion) to €1.48 billion ($1.455 billion). The company declined to give an estimate for the full year’s results.

Fortis, like most insurance and financial services companies, has been hit by the decline in the global equity markets, and the decrease in earnings from investments and interest payments.

The group’s basic operations are in relatively good shape, despite the fall in profits, which were largely in line with analysts forecasts. Fortis has embarked on a cost control program, which includes cutting 1500 jobs, and has improved profitability in its banking business; it also expects to profit from premium increases in its insurance operations.