Irish Life & Permanent plc issued an upbeat trading statement at its Annual General Meeting in Jurys Hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin today.
“At the announcement of our 2006 preliminary results on February 28 last, we commented on our expectations for trading and earnings for the group in 2007,” said chairman Gillian Bowler.
“Today, a further two and a half months into the year, the outlook has not changed materially.
“The issue attracting most attention is the continuing slowdown in the residential mortgage market in Ireland reflecting the impact of rising interest rates and uncertainty over stamp duty on home purchases.
“In our view a speedy resolution of the stamp duty issue – which looks likely following next week’s election – will see a recovery in new mortgage lending as the underlying level of demand remains strong.
“Depending on the timing and extent of the rebound we would expect the bank’s overall loan book to grow by mid to high teens percent in 2007. Meanwhile mortgage credit quality remains excellent.”
The bank also reported “very positive performances” in the areas of life sales and investment management.
The statement also pointed to Permanent tsb’s success in attracting an average of 1,250 new current account customers every week.
“Against this backdrop we are satisfied that we can deliver the targeted low to mid-teens growth in pre-tax operating profit in our core businesses for 2007,” said Bowler.
“We will be making a more detailed comment on trading for the first half of the year in our pre-close period trading statement to be issued on June 21 next”.