Switzerland's largest banking group, UBS, has reported that its profits doubled in 1999, to reach SFr6.3 billion (1998: SFr3.030 billion). It also gave an upbeat assessment of this year's business so far.This content was published on March 9, 2000 - 17:26
Switzerland's largest banking group, UBS, has reported that its profits doubled in 1999, to reach SFr6.3 billion (1998: SFr3.030 billion). It also gave an upbeat assessment of this year's business so far.
The UBS profits for last year represent basic earnings per share of SFr31.91 and a return on equity of 21.2 per cent before goodwill amortisation.
UBS said that driven by good continued conditions in the securities markets, the first two months of 2000 had been positive and provided a promising start for the year as a whole.
An increase in the dividend from SFr10 to 11 per share will be proposed to the general meeting of shareholders.
"1999 not only saw solid financial performance, the swift and successful completion of the merger and further growth in our business. We also made significant progress in implementing our business model as a global integrated investment services firm," said Group Chief Executive, Marcel Ospel.
"The regrouping of our wealth management business announced in February will enable us to unlock our tremendous long-term growth potential," he added.
In a statement, UBS said that despite a number of significant one-off events which made comparisons complex, the year-on-year net profit increase was "substantial".
Group assets under management grew 11 per cent last year, developing particularly well in the fourth quarter to reach SFr1.744 billion.
UBS, which now has three business groups - UBS Switzerland, UBS Asset Management and UBS Warburg - said it was convinced it had the idea set of businesses with leading market positions to take advantage of the sweeping global trends increasing personal wealth.
"UBS perceives technology to be the key enabler of business growth and is therefore investing heavily in technology to provide an even greater array of value-added products and services to a broader client base," the statement said.
The group is investing about SFr250 million in new technology this year and launching a pan-European "e-services" personal investment business in the Autumn.
There are also plans this year for UBS stock to be traded on the New York stock exchange, a move designed to give the Group flexibility to take advantage of potential expansion opportunities in the United States.
By Robert Brookes
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