Half-year profits at UBS top SFr4 billion
Switzerland's largest financial group, UBS, has posted its best-ever half-year results with net profits up by 84 per cent to SFr4.268 billion ($2.480 billion) over the same period last year.
UBS reported on Tuesday that it had made a net profit after tax and minority interests of SFr2.052 billion ($1.19 billion) for the second quarter of 2000.
A communiqué said this represented "outstanding growth" of 138 per cent over the comparable period last year, once the effects of divestments and one-off provisions had been taken out.
The company attributed the strong second quarter results to healthy growth in the "Private and Corporate Clients business unit within UBS Switzerland", as well as a "write-back in credit loss expense associated with the Swiss economy".
Group assets under management totalled SFr1,711 billion at the end of June, three per cent down over the first quarter. UBS said the decline was "mainly driven by negative market trends and anticipated client losses in the institutional asset management business".
In its outlook, the company said it was looking forward to completing its takeover of New York broker, PaineWebber, and the resulting opportunities that the combination with UBS Warburg would bring.
It added that in matching the first quarter's "excellent performance", UBS had confirmed the strength of its positioning. "If market conditions remain consistent, the group expects to maintain its strong performance relative to last year," the communiqué said.
In a separate development, UBS also announced on Tuesday that it was selling off the Solothurner Bank to Bâloise insurance of Basel. The price of the transaction has not been disclosed.
By selling the bank, UBS is complying with a condition set out by the Swiss Competition Commission. That body ruled that as a result of the merger which created UBS - between the Swiss Bank Corporation and the Union Bank of Switzerland - the group must sell its subsidiary bank by spring 2003 at the latest.
Based in the town of Solothurn, the bank has 19 branches and achieved a net profit in 1999 of SFr28.7 million.
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