Banking results lead the way to firm profit growth. Operating net profit up 18.1% from 2002 to EUR 4,053 million; Per share EUR 2.00 (+13.1%); Banking operating net profit up 72.6% to EUR 1,545 million; Insurance operating net profit down 1.2% to EUR 2,508 million; Total net profit down 10.2% to EUR 4,043 million; Tier-1 ratio bank improves from 7.31% to 7.59%; Capital-coverage ratio insurance improves from 169% to 180%; Fourth-quarter operating net profit up 44.6% from fourth quarter 2002; Total dividend EUR 0.97, equal to 2002.
'The year 2003 was successful for ING. We were able to benefit from the rebounding equity markets and the improved economic conditions, notably in the US,' said Ewald Kist, chairman of the Executive Board. 'Operating net profit from banking jumped 72.6%, thanks to substantially lower risk costs, a higher interest result and tight cost control. ING Direct contributed EUR 151 million to group profit, well ahead of plan. The global low interest rate environment, the strong euro and a higher tax burden adversely affected operating net profit from insurance, which decreased slightly. Nevertheless, our life-insurance operations in the US and Asia managed to post double-digit profit growth in local currencies. During the course of 2003, we took a number of measures to strengthen the capital base, which resulted in strongly improved ratios for both our insurance and banking operations.'
The Executive Board is cautiously optimistic about the outlook for 2004. In the year ahead, ING will continue to leverage its existing strengths in both mature and developing markets. The Executive Board considers it premature at this stage to make a profit forecast for 2004.
Source: ING Group