Irish Life & Permanent's results boosted by life business

Irish Life & Permanent says its life business played a key role in raising group product earnings during 2000 by 17% to €266m.

Irish Life & Permanent says its life business played a key role in raising group product earnings during 2000 by 17% to €266m.

In the first full year of trading since the merger which formed the group, it reported an operating profit of €286.6m, up from €252.8m.

The board has recommended a final dividend of 27.9 cents for a total dividend of 39 cents, an increase of 11% on the 35.1 cents pay-out for 1999.

The value of new life assurance business for the year was up 21% to €37m, from €30.7m.

The only area to cause some concern was in the group's US operations, which are said to have had an unsatisfactory year. The board says it is reviewing options for the improvement of this business.

Chief executive David Went said the group's banking business enjoyed a very satisfactory performance in 2000. Residential mortgage loans grew to €7.6bn, while new residential home loans issued in the Republic increased by 14% to €1.8bn from €1.6bn euros in 1999.

"We remain at the forefront of this market," he said.

Went says one of the great successes was the exceptional growth in bancassurance sales during 2000, and states that was a direct consequence of the merger. Sales of life and pension products within the banking division increased by over 55% to €29.3m.

At the end of the year, the group successfully bid to acquire TSB Bank. This acquisition is expected to be completed within the next two months and Went said the group was currently engaged in detailed planning for the merger of Irish Permanent with TSB.

He concluded: "The Irish market continues to be very strong and the fundamentals for our business remain very positive. We look forward to a satisfactory outcome for the current year."

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