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Strong performance for UBS in third quarter

UBS graphic: Nov 2000

Switzerland's biggest banking group, UBS, has revealed strong third quarter numbers, and is expecting a robust performance for the year as a whole.

Net profit in the third quarter at the world’s sixth largest financial institution came in at SFr2.1 billion ($1.2 billion), up 73 per cent on the same period in 1999, but down slightly from the SFr2.2 billion seen in the second quarter of 2000.

UBS said Tuesday that it expected a quiet fourth quarter, reiterating that it will face one-off costs in the period for its purchase of US broker PaineWebber and restructuring.

The Swiss bank acquired the US broker this year in a cash and share deal worth $11.8 billion.

“The fourth quarter is normally the quietest part of the year in most of UBS’s businesses, and the group expects this year to be no exception,” it said in a statement.

UBS also said that it was confident that it could “complete 2000 in robust form” and that it was “excellently positioned” for 2001.

While pre-tax profits at its investment-banking arm, UBS Warburg, fell from the earlier quarters of 2000, the division’s relatively low exposure to the telecom, media and technology sectors meant it faced a less negative impact than many of its competitors.

UBS Switzerland achieved its strongest third quarter result ever. The performance of the Private & Corporate Clients business unit was only slightly behind the last two record quarters, aided by further successful cost reduction.

Private Banking continued its improved performance with earnings increasing over the second quarter of 2000 despite quieter markets, and up 22 per cent from a year ago.

UBS also announced plans to step up its timetable for reporting quarterly results, amid efforts to satisfy investors seeking more transparency about its operations.

From the start of next year quarterly results will be released about six-weeks after quarter-end, instead of the current eight weeks.

Assets under management at UBS totalled SFr1.75 trillion at the end of the third quarter, up two per cent.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR