ING reports 15-fold rise in second quarter net profit

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Dutch bank and insurer ING on Wednesday reported a more than 15-fold rise in second quarter net profit from a year ago, exceeding analysts' expectations.

Net profit increased to 1.09 billion euros (1.42 billion dollars) for the quarter, higher than the 742 million euros predicted by analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

A year ago, the second quarter result was 71 million euros, ING said in a statement, and 1.3 billion euros in the first quarter of 2010.

The underlying result before tax was 1.5 billion euros in the second quarter, compared to a figure of 56 million euros in the same period of 2009.

"The bank led the earnings improvement as commercial growth remained robust and negative market impacts continued to decline," ING chief executive Jan Hommen said in a statement.

ING's banking arm registered an underlying result before tax of 1.61 billion euros, while insurance made a net loss of 115 million euros.

"The decline in equity markets impacted underlying results from insurance," Hommen said.

He added the group would continue working on the operational separation of its banking and insurance operations, "with the aim to have the businesses operating on an arm's-length, stand-alone basis by the end of this year," he said.

"Good progress was made in the second quarter," he added.

The cost of the separation was expected to be between 110 million euros and 150 million euros for 2010, "of which 30 million euros was taken in the first half."

ING employs 105.831 people around the world, two percent less than a year ago.

© 2010 AFP

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