IL&P report profits fall, cost cuts pending

Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) has reported pre-tax profits of €261.8m for last year, nearly €30m lower than in 2002.

Irish Life & Permanent (IL&P) has reported pre-tax profits of €261.8m for last year, nearly €30m lower than in 2002.

The fall was mainly due to a €50m loss on the sale of its last remaining US business Guarantee Reserve Life.

Total earning per share was 97.2 cent, compared to last year's 105.5 cent, but dividends per share rose by 7.4% to 51 cent.

Group chief executive David Went said: "The Group recorded a very satisfactory performance in 2003."

Profits at the group's core operations in the Republic and Britain increased 4% to €363.7m.

A strong growth in profits of 32% to €128.8m, has been attributed in part to a surge in new mortgage lending of 30% to €3.8bn, with total new loans issued at €6bn, an increase of 33%.

Went said that total cost synergy targets that were set (€29m), upon acquisition of TSB Bank, have been met.

In the life side of the group's business, IL&P said 2002 and 2003 outcomes were distorted by high levels of Government subsidised SSIA sales in 2002.

Overall sales in 2003 were €319.7m, compared to €315.9m in 2002, excluding €101.7m worth of SSIA sales.

IL&P also announced completion of the disposal of its last remaining US operation, Guarantee Reserve Life Insurance Company.

This ends the group's involvement in the US marketplace.

This morning, on RTÉ radio, Went indicated that more cost savings within the group may signal more staff cuts, but emphasised that any such redundancies would be voluntary.

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